MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) issued a resolution Tuesday implementing a “money ban” beginning May 8, a Wednesday, until Monday, Election Day in a bid to fight vote buying.
Comelec Resolution 9688 promulgated Tuesday bans cash withdrawals from banks of more than P100,000 per day, Comelec chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. told reporters.
“This is a formal resolution of the Comelec deputizing the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to prohibit withdrawals of more than P100,000 per day,” Brillantes said.
Withdrawals above P100,000 done through other means such as checks and wire transfers will not be prohibited, he said.
“Commerce and trade will not be affected with [the limitation of] P100,000 a day,” Brillantes added.
In another provision, the transporting and possession of P500,000 cash will also be prohibited because this would serve as a presumption that the money would be used for vote buying.
According to the resolution, “all existing Comelec checkpoints … are directed to conduct a 24-hour money ban checkpoint, in addition to the gun ban checkpoint.”
The resolution, which was the first of its kind in the country, was passed through a unanimous 7-0 vote, Brillantes said.
“We call it money ban, which means we are banning the withdrawals of cash starting [Wednesday] and up to Election Day,” Brillantes said.
“The threshold amount is we will allow only up to P100,000 per day,” he said.
Conversions of monetary instruments to cash and encashment of checks will also be prohibited. Money changers and lending institutions would also be covered because they are under the BSP.
The BSP however, did not agree with the Comelec’s resolution, he said.
“It’s possible they will not follow us,” Brillantes said.
“They are saying we cannot deputize them,” he said.
The main reason for the resolution was in order to deter vote buying by controlling the flow of money which, historically, increases during the few days before elections, he added.
Brillantes, who has been working as an election lawyer for decades, said that he personally knows that millions of pesos go out of banks just before the election.
There was however no penalty indicated in the resolution.