Comelec: Buying or selling votes? You can be jailed
MANILA, Philippines — Buying and selling votes are election offenses that have corresponding penalties and jail time under the law, a Commission on Elections (Comelec) official warned Tuesday.
“It’s an election offense. You can be jailed, you can be fined and you can be disqualified from holding public office. Both ‘yan, both the buyer and the seller,” Comelec Spokesperson James Jimenez said in a press briefing as the campaign season reaches homestretch with less than two weeks left before election day.
Jimenez also warned voters not to accept money from candidates who will try to buy their votes, saying that it is “practically everything that they can expect” from the candidate for the rest of his term should he or she wins in the May 13 midterm polls.
According to the Comelec official, candidates consider the money they use to buy votes as “investment” that they can collect or recoup once they are elected in public office.
“No one buys vote with the expectation that it’s a sunk cost – na investment ‘yon wala nang balik. Kaya nga investment ‘di ba?” he pointed out.
Jimenez’s warning was a response to Philippine National Police (PNP) chief General Oscar Albayalde’s advise to voters to accept cash offered by politicians but still vote for the right candidates aspiring for a seat in government.
The PNP has already clarified Albayalde’s remark, saying the country’s top cop merely issued such statement “in jest”
“‘Yung naipahayag ni General Albayalde was made in jest,” PNP spokesman Colonel Bernard Banac said.
“‘Yun ay pagbibigay ng emphasis ng ating chief PNP na tayo ay maging seryoso sa ating seguridad na pinapatupad at pagsiguro na maging honest at peaceful ang ating eleksyon ngayong Mayo 13,” he said.
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