Comelec mulls ways to stop vote-buying


Comelec chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—An early warning to candidates: Giving away lechon or pancit to be feasted upon by voters on the eve of the elections may well be construed as vote-buying.

The Commission on Elections announced Friday it was mulling over a measure that will reduce, if not totally eradicate,  vote-buying by candidates in the May 13 elections.

But Comelec Chair Sixto Brillantes Jr. said the election body will keep it under wraps until election day was near to avoid preempting their plan.

“This will serve as a warning on vote-buying,” Brillantes told reporters. “My colleagues here in the Comelec and I are planning something…. We are studying constitutional issues on the matter but if it pushes through, we won’t have a problem anymore with vote-buying.”

Brillantes said it was possible that the commission would issue a resolution on the matter, which would then take effect a week or so before May 13, the country’s second automated nationwide elections.

“If I reveal what it is now, our plan will be futile,” said the Comelec chief, adding that they will roll it out at least 10 days prior to election day. “Because vote-buying is really being used a few days before the elections, usually two days or on the eve of the balloting,” he added.

In the same breath, the Comelec chief reminded candidates that while “electoral propaganda gadgets” such as lighters, fans, pens, mugs, candies and umbrellas, among others, can be distributed during their campaign, giving away “something of value” can be considered vote-buying.

He defined vote-buying as giving away money or anything valuable for the purpose  of getting a vote.

Brillantes noted that giving away lighters, cigarettes, umbrellas and shirts are already allowed for campaign purposes after Republic Act No. 9006 or the Fair Elections Act repealed a provision in the Omnibus Election Code declaring as unlawful the “purchase, manufacture, request, distribution or acceptance” of electoral propaganda gadgets.

The Omnibus Election Code identified propaganda gadgets as pens, lighters, fans, flashlights, athletic goods or materials, wallets, shirts, hands, bandanas, matches, cigarettes and the like.

“These materials are no longer prohibited in the course of the campaign as long as it is freely given as a campaign material and they will reflect as part of the candidates’ expenses,” said Brillantes. “But if you use that close to the elections, we can classify it as vote-buying.”

The Comelec chief also cited giving away food, such as lechon or pancit, to voters on the eve of the elections as something that could fall under vote-buying. “Why would you send lechon or pancit to the public?” he asked.

He said it has been difficult for the Comelec to really go after candidates engaging in vote-buying. “That’s why up to now, no one has been jailed for it… but I will send someone soon, as long as there is evidence,” warned Brillantes.

Get Inquirer updates while on the go, add us on these apps:

Inquirer Viber

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • J

    The law does not only prohibit vote buying but vote selling as well. He who take and eat the lechon as a gift from politukus are equally guilty.
    The real question is – Kaya ba ng Comelec i-implement ang batas na ito laban sa vote buying at selling?

  • ben

    Mr. Brillantes if you are really serious in punishing or putting to jail of politician engage in vote buying then start now building a concentration camp coz nobody will be left standing. A salute to you Mr. Brillantes but I think you are day dreaming.

  • hopeless_na

    Lechon??? High-blood yan. Hayaan mo silang mahigh-blood para mabawasan ang mga masisiba sa pinas.

  • kontra_boohaya

    O Please!  Making such laws will only open the floodgates for “selective” enforecement.  Kung ganyan e di lahat ng mananalo na hindi kapartida ay pwedeng ipa disqualify for “selling or buying”  votes.  Libreng gupit, tuli, o manicure bawal din kaya?

  • mulanay

    OK lang magpamigay ng pagkain ang mga kandidato basta hindi mataas ang kolesterol at mababa lang ang salt o sugar content.

  • JasonBieber

    Find ways? The Comelec has enough trouble with the actual PCOS machines.

    They already can’t fix the machines that will be reading the votes how do they expect to stop the vote-buying? Comelec is leading the Philippine elections into one big hysterical confusion.

  • 2rey3

    This is new and unique for the COMELEC!First time that it has expressed openly that it will do something about vote buying!!

  • Albert

    As usual all talk and no action. I remember the comelec complaining about candidates who didnt take the mandatory drug test for the filing of their candidacy and until now, nothing has happened.

To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.

Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:

c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City,Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94


editors' picks



latest videos