SOLYMONE BLOG

PHILIPPINES WATCHDOG DECRIES RAMPANT VOTE-BUYING?

MANILA, Philippines -  A Catholic church-backed poll watchdog, the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV), decried what it described as “rampant” vote-buying during the recent mid-term polls.
Henrietta de Villa, chair of the volunteer group, said the May 13 elections hold the dubious distinction as a political exercise “with the most rampant incidence of vote buying.”
  • She blamed politicians for engaging in the wrong practice which results in corrupting the electorate.Vote-buying had been a standard fixture of Philippine elections but, De Villa says, “vote buying this time was bolder and on a bigger scale,” adding that politicians “did everything just to entice people to vote for them.”
  • De Villa said other than handing out cash to voters, politicians gave food packages, mobile phones and even scholarships.
  • PPCRV is the only officially accredited vote count body aside from the state Commission on Elections (Comelec).
  • De Villa blamed the worsening culture of money politics to the growing disparity between the rich and the poor in the country.
  • “Because of poverty, they are forced to buy the bullet,” she said.
  • Despite common knowledge on vote buying, especially in depressed areas of the country only a few people get arrested for engaging in this illegal activity.
  • According to Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Alan Purisima, they were able to arrest 94 people for vote buying during the mid-term polls.
  • “These incidents were witnessed by our policemen themselves,” he said adding that police need to review guidelines on what constitute “vote buying.”
According to Purisima, policemen were able to confiscate some P1.64 million from the arrested individuals.
Vote buying is widespread but, according to the PNP, the most number of arrested vote buyers were in Central Luzon as well as Ilocos and Western Mindanao regions.
Five days before the May 13 elections, the Comelec imposed restrictions on cash withdrawals as part of measures to prevent candidates from engaging in vote buying.

Source: Agency
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