(File photo)

File a formal complaint.

This is the call of the Commission on Election provincial office to all voters who may have knowledge about vote buying on May 13 elections.

Jomel Ordas, the spokesperson of COMELEC- Palawan, said there should be a formal complaint for them to act upon.

“Dapat may formal complaint, kasi kung wala naman nagrereklamo sa COMELEC ay walang mangyayari,” Ordas said.

Vote buying and selling is an offense under section 261 of the Republic Act 881 which has a corresponding penalty, including imprisonment of one to six years imprisonment and perpetual disqualification to hold public office.

“Ang vote buying at vote selling ay mahigpit na ipinagbabawal sa ating election laws. May penalty na pagkakulong ng 1-6 years, perpetual disqualification to hold public office at pagaalis ng karapatang bomoto,” he said.

Ordas pointed out that all politicians are allowed to spend money on their campaign staff, but not for the voters, which can be considered as vote buying and selling.

“Ang mga politiko ay may allowed na expenses but during rally ay hindi sila pwedeng mamigay ng pera o kahit ano. Ang allowable expenditures lang nila dyan ay ‘yong sa mga staff nila, sa mga venue, sound system at ‘yong pagkain ng mga tao nila pero hindi ng public. ‘Yong mga pinapamigay na mga damit ay dapat para lang sa mga tao nila hindi for public,” he said.

The giver which is the candidate and the receiver, the voter will be criminally liable.

He also said that vote buying and selling is not only in the form of money, but also in other forms, such as promises of jobs once a candidate wins.

“Kahit sino kasi liable dito. Hindi lang kandidato o supporter ng kandidato kundi maging sinong tao ay maaring maging liable dito once bumili o nagbenta [sila] ng boto. Hindi lang pera kapag vote buying, kapag pinangakuan ka ng trabaho o binigyan ng ibang bagay considered vote buying na,” Ordas added.

Vote buying may be prevented, he said, but it is a challenge because it is part of Philippine culture during the election period.

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