‘I’m against vote buying,’ says Robredo as she makes case for ‘realities on the ground’

By: Gabriel Pabico Lalu - Inquirer.net | October 27,2021 - 03:20 PM

vote buying

Vice President Leni Robredo attended the blessing and turnover of the cremated remains of several victims of extrajudicial killings (EJK), held in Manila on Wednesday, 20 October 2021. (Photo by Charlie Villegas/OVP)

MANILA, Philippines — Vice President Leni Robredo clarified on Wednesday, October 27, 2021, that she is against vote buying, despite a recent statement urging voters to just accept money if they are being targeted, but at the same time picking the candidate dictated by their conscience.

But Robredo explained that the reality on the ground — which is a result of a poor enforcement of rules on vote buying — is different and has to be dealt with.

“Aware tayo sa nasa batas, hindi tayo masaya na hindi ito nae-enforce, pero dapat bukas ‘yong mata natin sa realities on the ground.  Bukas ‘yong mata natin sa realities on the ground kung hindi maayos ‘yong enforcement, ano ba ‘yong gagawin natin?” she asked during a press briefing with reporters in Naga.

“Ang dapat na ginagawa natin, na kahit may tumatanggap, dapat hindi susundan ‘yong boto na parang meron kang utang na loob sa nagbigay,” she added.

Robredo said that it has been very frustrating to see incidents of vote buying, amid poor policing and the dismissal of cases despite glaring evidence.

According to her, she herself has tried to address the issue by filing a case for vote buying in 2013, but it was dismissed.

“In fact kahit dito sa atin, very rampant ang vote buying, ‘yong frustrating sa lahat dito kasi hindi maayos ‘yong pag-implement ng regulations against vote buying.  Naalala ko no’ng kumandidato ako no’ng 2013 elections, nag-file ako ng case sa prosecutor’s office, marami ‘yong mga ebidensya na nagkaroon ng vote buying, na nadismiss lang ‘yong kaso,” she said.

“In fact dahil hindi maayos ‘yong ‘pag police natin against vote buying, ‘yong mga volunteers natin, ‘yon na ‘yong gumagawa ng paraan ‘pag meron tayong na-iidentify na alleged vote buyer, ‘yong ginagawa ng mga volunteers binabantayan na ‘yong mga bahay nila para hindi maka-buwelo,” she added.

Robredo was in a virtual meeting with household workers on Tuesday, when she was asked about what people should do with vote buying.  In response, she said that targets of vote buying activities should just accept the money as it may actually be taxpayers’ money.

But she also stressed that people should still vote as their conscience dictates, adding that there is no way for politicians to know who they voted for.

Robredo said her statement was reposted several times but without the context.

“Marami ‘yong nagrepost no’ng sagot ko do’n pero ‘yong iba kasi walang context.  ‘Yong sinabi ko kahapon na vote buying mali ‘yon, ‘yong vote buying mali ‘yon pero over the years very rampant siya dito sa atin,” she added.

Earlier, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) reminded the public that vote buying is still a violation of election laws.  According to Comelec spokesperson Director James Jimenez, such principles — accepting the money and voting based on conscience — should not even be suggested to voters.

There have been accusations of candidates for the 2022 elections doing vote buying, like in the case of social media users criticizing Senator Manny Pacquiao for handing out money in his recent trips.

But Pacquiao, a presidential candidate himself, stressed that money-giving activities have been part of his advocacy since 2002 — way before he became a local politician.

On Tuesday, Pacquiao said that those who criticize his provision of financial assistance may only be jealous of the fact that he has been helping people for a long time now.

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TAGS: Vice President Leni Robredo, vote buying

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