PNP: 441 arrested across Philippines for alleged vote buying
MANILA, Philippines — Four hundred forty-one people were arrested nationwide for alleged vote buying, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said on Tuesday.
In a press briefing, PNP chief Gen. Oscar Albayalde said the PNP also rescued eight minors in 225 cases of alleged vote buying.
Albayalde said he agrees with President Rodrigo Duterte’s statement that vote buying has become a culture in the Philippines, and that it should be stopped.
“Tama ang sinabi ng Pangulo na yung vote buying could probably be a culture in our country. If it is a culture, it is a way of life. Hopefully, maputol natin yan dahil hindi ito magandang practice,” the PNP chief said.
After voting in Davao on Monday, the President told reporters that vote buying will be a part of elections for as long as the Philippines remains poor.
Automated VCM factor in vote-buying
The “incorruptible” vote counting machines could be a factor in the increase of vote-buying incidents as it forces candidates to buy votes instead of manipulating the ballots, Albayalde asserted.
“Unang una automated na yung elections natin, seemingly sabi ng Comelec [Commission on Elections] yung VCM are incorruptible so the tendency yung mga kandidato is they go directly to voters that is the reason kung bakit dumadami yung alleged vote buying reports,” Albayalde said.
Albayalde added that no candidate has been suspended for vote buying as it would be difficult to prove candidates’ involvement in these incidents.
“Wala pa tayong nakitang kandidato na ma-suspende or even placed under investigation for alleged vote buying. Always the victims here are the sellers and the buyers kasi napakahirap pong i-prove naman na yung kandidato ay may kinalaman sa pagbigay ng pera,” he said.
Meanwhile, the PNP also recorded 43 incidents of election-related violence which involved 73 victims, which were lower when compared to 106 incidents and 192 victims recorded in the 2016 national and local elections.
Albayalde added however that the PNP still needs to verify if these violent incidents were related to the elections. (Editor: Mike Frialde)
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