Voter education an antidote to vote-buying PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 23 May 2013 10:51

Political analyst Mon Casiple sees need for more voter education to help better address vote-buying that continues plaguing Philippine elections.

Casiple warned people against being pressured into electing candidates behind attempts to buy their votes, noting voters have the right to choose poll bets they deem best fit for public office.

“Voters should realize the power of the ballot,” he said.

With the ballot secrecy principle being observed in elections, he noted it’s also untrue the public will know who a voter elected.

“Voting’s a matter between a voter and his or her conscience,” he said.

Reports of vote-buying incidents surfaced anew this year when government conducted the May 13 mid-term polls, its second nationwide automated elections after 2010.

Commission on Elections (Comelec) reportedly acknowledged vote-buying remained “rampant” this year despite poll automation.

Election watchdog Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting also observed “more rampant” vote-buying in 2013 than in previous polls, reports noted.

Comelec Chairperson Sixto Brillantes Jr. earlier warned vote-buying can take many forms.

“Vote-buying’s giving anything of value to get votes,” he said.

Aside from cash, reports cited gadgets, groceries and scholarships as among favors given out this year to buy votes.

Comelec promulgated earlier this month Resolution 9688 which prohibits, from May 8 to 13 this year, daily withdrawal of cash, encashment of checks and conversion of any monetary instrument into cash exceeding P100,000 or its equivalent in any foreign currency.

Brillantes said Comelec came up with the resolution to help address vote-buying, noting such act generally occurs as election day nears.

“If we reduce circulation of cash, it’ll definitely minimize vote-buying,” he said.

He noted it’s difficult to prosecute those guilty of vote-buying so Comelec sees need for innovative approaches like the money ban to help address the problem.

Supreme Court issued a status quo ante order stopping Comelec from implementing Resolution 9688, however.

Brillantes said Comelec did a two-month study on the resolution before promulgating it.