Ka Leody: Reform political, electoral system to end vote-buying and patronage politics
MANILA, Philippines — As discussions on vote-buying were heating up, labor leader and presidential aspirant Leody de Guzman has called for reforms in the political and electoral system to end vote-buying and patronage politics.
In a tweet on Wednesday, De Guzman said vote-buying happens because “the masses are hungry and have no choice but to vote for billionaires or candidates from political dynasties.”
“Repormahin ang pampulitika at elektoral na sistema laban sa vote buying at patronage politics,” De Guzman wrote on Twitter.
(Reform the political and electoral system against vote-buying and patronage politics.)
“Buwagin ang mga political dynasty at isulong ang direktang partisipasyon ng masa sa paggugubyerno. Wakasan ang pagsasamantala sa desperadong masa,” he added.
(Dismantle political dynasties and promote direct mass participation in governance. End the exploitation of the desperate masses.)
De Guzman also pointed out a loophole in the laws that prohibit “direct vote-buying,” arguing that there is “indirect vote-buying” in ways of projects, aid, and work.
De Guzman was the latest among 2022 presidential candidates who expressed their respective stances on the matter.
First, it was Vice President Leni Robredo, who was asked during a forum Tuesday about what to do if there’s a politician doing vote-buying. Robredo told the audience it is illegal while taking the money could also be an option since it could have also come from taxpayers but stressed they still should vote according to their conscience in the end.
She even assured her audience that politicians have no way of knowing who they voted for.
Her remarks drew criticisms, with some saying it seems Robredo was encouraging vote-buying. But in a later clarification, Robredo reiterated she is against vote-buying and was only acknowledging the “realities on the ground.”
Manila City Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso, for his part, thought Filipino voters could not be persuaded by money and asserted that politicians should not think lowly of them. But he likewise acknowledged that some may still give in and accept the money from candidates, noting the hard times, especially amid the pandemic.
He said voters who did accept the money should not be blamed for doing so.
Meanwhile, Senator Manny Pacquiao, who was accused of buying votes, defended his action of giving out money to whoever he bumps into during trips.
He said he has been doing it for years as part of his advocacy, even before he entered politics.
An old clip of Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., where the scion and namesake of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos advised voters to accept money from candidates but still vote who they want, also surfaced on social media.
With all these, Commission on Elections spokesperson James Jimenez came out with a reminder to the public that vote-buying is an illegal act and an election offense “regardless of financial situation or noble intentions.”
But of all parties involved in the illegal vote-buying scheme, senatorial candidate and former Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares said politicians doing the dirty deed and election officials neglecting to uphold and enforce the law should be the ones being held accountable for it and not the voters taking the money.
Robredo had earlier cited the weak implementation of election laws to effectively address vote-buying.
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.