MANILA, Philippines?Alarmed by numerous reports of vote-buying, Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) chair Henrietta de Villa Sunday called on voters not to sell their votes to candidates desperate to win Monday?s elections.
?They should not allow themselves to get intimidated. Don?t sell your votes because there is no way to check on the results on which candidates you vote for,? said De Villa in an interview Sunday night.
De Villa related receiving reports of rampant vote-buying in the provinces of Palawan and Maguindanao as she noted that politicians were resorting to this method of pre-empting the vote because the results were now more difficult to rig under the new automated election system.
?While I?m happy that the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines are okay, now there are so many reports of vote-buying here and there. It shows that supporters of candidates really go out of their way to change the will of the people. Now they?re getting frantic that they cannot exercise their old ways of cheating, so they?re resorting to vote buying,? she said.
Ana de Villa-Singson, the council?s media and communications director, said on Sunday that PPCRV volunteers reported over the weekend seeing rampant vote-buying in certain areas in Metro Manila.
Singson said the volunteers witnessed incidents of vote-buying in Makati City and in Cubao in Quezon City.
Singson said the vote-buying was so excessive that it had become a larger concern than the performance of PCOS machines.
?We?ve been calling the volunteers to give an update about the PCOS machines,? she said. ?But there are no more problems, the data is already accurate in the testing. What?s bad now is the vote-buying.?
Volunteers did not name the candidates who were shopping for votes and how much they offered per vote.
?It was really frantic last night. They were saying, ?Bring the media, bring the media!? That?s Makati, it?s so close, right in our own backyard,? she said.
PPCRV, an accredited citizen?s arm of the Commission on Elections, set up a command center at the Pope Pius XII Catholic Center in Manila to receive incident reports from its million-strong volunteer base on election day.
Also Sunday, an attempt to buy votes in southern Cebu was foiled by the military when soldiers discovered a village chief and councilman carrying bundles of small bills to which were attached sample ballots of the pro-administration One Cebu slate in Dumanjug town.
Aside from two large bundles of P20-bills, there were several envelopes containing P150 and sample ballots bearing the names of presidential candidate Gilbert Teodoro, vice presidential candidate Loren Legarda, senatorial candidates down to the local candidates of One Cebu headed by reelectionist Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia, police said.
Army troops collared at a checkpoint on Saturday two persons distributing sample ballots containing cash in a village in Pio Duran town in Albay, an Army officer said Sunday.
Arrested suspects Saturnino Pesino, 53, and Edgar Caluyo, 47, yielded sample ballots that had money amounting to P1,400 to them.