The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) is looking into a case of vote buying in Palawan, its provincial official said.
Jomel Ordas, the provincial election body’s spokesperson said this but refused to give details about the ongoing probe.
“Sa ngayon dito sa atin sa province mayroon tayong under investigation na nang vote buying,” he said.
He reiterated the poll body’s warning against vote buyers and sellers that they can be held liable for the prohibited acts during the conduct of next week’s electoral process.
He said they can be held responsible under Section 261 of Republic Act 881.
“Ang vote buying at vote selling ay mahigpit na ipinagbabawal sa ating election laws. Isang election offense may penalty na pagkakulong ng 1-6 years, perpetual disqualification to hold public office, at pagaalis ng karapatang bomoto,” he said.
Ordas said involved candidates, including themselves, can be penalized.
He also said that acts are not only in the form of money but also promises to provide jobs once they win in a particular position.
“Hindi lang kandidato o supporter ng kandidato kundi maging sinong tao ay maaaring maging liable dito once bumili o nagbenta [sila] ng boto. Ang pagbili ng boto ay maaring sa pamamagitan ng pera, pangakong trabaho, prangkisa o pamimigay o pangakong gastusin para sa isang tao, grupo o association para iboto ang isang kandidato. Ang pagbebenta naman ng boto ay ang pagtanggap ng pera, trabaho o anumang pangako ng gastusin ng isang tao, grupo o association kapalit ang kanilang boto,” Ordas pointed out.
“Ang vote buying ay puwede naman ma-prevent pero challenging kasi para sa isang nasa political culture na ng Pinoy. Kailangan lang merong mag-file ng complaint bago ito maaksyonan ng COMELEC,” Ordas said.
The poll agency is appealing to all voters to “vote candidates wisely,” he said.
“Ayaw natin ng vote buying at vote selling dahil sinisira nito ang integridad at ang prinsipyo ng isang malinis at malayang halalan,” Ordas said.