Comelec intensifies watch against vote buying

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Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has ordered its regional election directors to closely monitor vote buying throughout the country as the May 2013 elections draw closer.

Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. on Monday presided over a coordinating conference attended by the Comelec en banc, senior staff, and regional election directors, where they discussed preparations for the upcoming elections.

“There are several forms of vote buying … it is really very difficult to monitor,” Brillantes told reporters in a briefing after the conference.

He said that the giving of goods, such as uncooked rice or grocery items, can become a form of vote buying if these are too valuable.

“If you are giving away something very valuable it becomes a form of vote buying, so we are discussing the possibility of putting a cap on certain amounts,” Brillantes said.

He said that certain election gimmicks where small items are given away such as shirts, lighters, face towels, umbrellas, etc. are no longer prohibited. But they are looking at the giving away of items that are too expensive.

“We are trying to determine a cap on it, like the giving away of rice, if they are giving away sacks of rice, it’s no longer an election gimmick,” he said.

Commissioner Grace Padaca also said that she received reports about rice and groceries being readied for distribution to the voters as early as Monday.

“Back in the 2010 elections, vote buying does not happen only on the night before elections, this thing happens two weeks or three weeks before elections,” Padaca told reporters.

Brillantes said that they were aware of the usual vote buying method of giving envelopes with cash the night before election day.

Newly appointed commissioners Al Parreno and Luie Guia attended the conference as an observer. They are likely to take their oath of office within the week, Brillantes said.

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  • divictes

    Good luck. But really, your chances are better charging windmills.

  • RyanE

    Good luck Mr. Chairman. Just make sure that your action will not be again TRO’d by the SC.

  • parefrank

    It will punish a candidate who gives away some T-shirts but not touch Noy’s 17000 million tax money, put to Cebu projectsfor “helping Team Pnoy” candidates, exact a month before election. Projects that are not new and not president’s projects.

  • 4goodgovt

    Here in the province of Pampanga, the Pinedas have been at it for so long Capampangans look forward to it. They give out cash, chicken, etc like there’s no tomorrow. I don’t know how Chairman Brillantes can put a stop to this nefarious deed and ensure clean voting in this province. Even mayors such as Mayor Morales of the newly-proclaimed city of Mabalacat have been handing out cash up to last night, 20 April 2013 at City Hall itself! The problem is no one has enough guts to stand up against this practice without putting himself in grave peril, And Brillantes should know this kind of situation. If he really wants clean and credible elections in his term, he should devise a system or program that will address this perennial malady of vote-buying. Another problem is that almost all COMELEC officials, ranking PNP officers and local government executives are on the Pineda payroll, so how the Chairman will handle the situation remains to be seen. Considering the enormous amount of money available to the incumbent governor, Lilia Pineda, in my opinion even if Pnoy will conduct the election, he will fail in making it clean.

  • williamarthur

    You haven’t been o Puerto Princesa City during election if you will not mention it as one of the vote buying metropolis of the country!

  • Ako_Hiking

    Poor Brillantes, he looks so tired and exhausted. No wonder he is considering stepping down from the post. It’s not like he is getting support from President Aquino to make sure that we have a smooth elections with properly working PCOS machines. All Aquino has done is stick one of his own in Padaca there who as a graft case pending, as well as tried to appoint a person in Lanto with poll sabotage past. That seems to be more problems than help.

  • kismaytami

    Just read early this morning that abnoy is pouring billions of pesos in vote rich Cebu.

  • disqusted0fu

    The Comelec seems to know all the tricks in the book. The problem is they don’t know how to stop it, especially if it’s a team pnoy candidate making the violation because Brillantes knows that he will get an earful from Pnoy.

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