MANILA, Philippines – Senator Francis Pangilinan dared the Commission on Elections (Comelec) Monday to disqualify candidates who engage in vote-buying so as to end the “vicious and corrupting cycle” and send a “clear signal” to the whole country.
“It is a known fact that, all over the country, politicos buy votes under the guise of solicitations,” Pangilinan said in a statement Monday.
“The lack of action on the part of the Comelec all these years on rampant vote-buying has made the practice ingrained,” he said.
Pangilinan urged Comelec to create a task force that would focus on going after politicians who resort to buying votes and file disqualification cases against them.
“I am certain that even if only 10 cases of vote buying prosper and lead to disqualification before Election Day, it will send a clear signal for the rest of the nation and will create a major dent in the anti-vote buying effort,” he said.
“No candidate would want to have a case hanging over his head while campaigning,” Pangilinan added.
He however lamented that no one has ever been disqualified for vote buying before Election Day. This has led to officials being elected into office who have gotten used to using illegal means and “would go on breaking the law once in office,” Pangilinan said.
“This vicious and corrupting cycle must end,” he said.
Pangilinan added that the honest candidates who don’t engage in vote-buying have no fighting chance against the corrupt politicians. “The only recourse of the honest candidate is to have these politicians disqualified by a proactive and courageous Comelec,” he said.