- Vote-buying activities were rampant in several areas in the country during the Barangay and SK Elections 2018
- Comelec Director Veronico Petalcorin urged the local community to combat vote-buying
- DILG has recorded more than 100 incidents of cash-giving in exchange of votes
The recently concluded Barangay and SK Elections was filled with vote-buying activities, according to the consolidated data gathered by the Inquirer.
Local politicians, apparently, did not mind disobeying the Omnibus Election Code despite the fact that violators could face imprisonment from one to six years and disqualification from holding public office.
Many citizens were handed money amounting from Php50 to as much as Php3,000; days or a day before the election.
Some running candidates and their supporters had reportedly enlisted the names of voters, then later on provided sample ballots and a certain amount of money. In some areas like Cebu and Aklan, some vote buyers were apprehended but in most cases, there were no complainants and witnesses. Thus, filing of charges were not pursued.
In a statement released by Veronico Petalcorin, Commission on Elections (Comelec) director in Central Visayas, he urged the local community to cooperate with them because “money cannot speak for itself.” She added that people should be brave enough to combat these candidates who buy votes.
However, based on the local media most voters at densely populated barangays in areas like Mandaue City, Cebu remained awake till midnight to anticipate the cash given by some local candidates.
In Eastern Visayas, there were also some information gathered about the massive vote-buying in the provinces of Leyte. Reportedly, the amount given ranges from Php 50 – Php 5000 for every voter.
The said large-scale bribing activities did not just occur in Visayas areas but also in Luzon and Mindanao.
In Manila, some men were invited to police stations for trying to bribe a registered voter Php 1,000 to vote for a candidate.
In Quezon City, a couple received some cash bribe even if they were not registered voters in the barangay.
Some supporters and local candidates in Quezon province and Sorsogon also got caught. Envelopes containing sample ballots and cash bribes were recovered from the violators.
According to DILG, there were around 100 recorded incidents of politicians giving money in exchange of votes.