Comelec to penalize those carrying over P500,000 cash before barangay, SK polls
MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) will prohibit and penalize locals caught carrying over P500,000 worth of cash five days before the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) on October 30.
Comelec chairman George Garcia said the money ban initially includes cash withdrawals, but for the upcoming polls, only carrying cash worth P500,000 or more would be prohibited.
“Binago po natin ang strategy. Hindi pipigilan ang pag-wi-withdraw ng P500,000; ang ating pong i-pro-prohibit at i-pu-punish ay yung pagdadala ng P500,000 lalo na kung pumasok ‘yung period ng kampanya. ‘Yan pa naman po ‘yung panahon ng pamimili ng boto,” Garcia told reporters on Tuesday.
( We have changed the strategy. We will not bar them from withdrawing P500,000, but we will prohibit and punish people carrying over P500,000, especially after the campaign period starts. That is still vote-buying.)
However, the Comelec chief clarified that cashiers and company owners, especially payroll clerks who carry large amounts of cash in their line of work, would be exempted from the ban.
Exempted workers are advised to bring their company identification cards indicating their designations.
Garcia said that Comelec has coordinated with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas for online transactions using mobile payment applications, which handle these online services.
“Meron po kaming mga presumption din halimbawa ikaw ay nag-deposito ilang araw mula ang election at nasa campaign period, tapos 20 tao ang pinadalhan mo or first time mo magpadala, you will be presumed to be engaged in vote buying, tapos ni hindi mo maexplain bakit ka nagpadala ng ganun kalaki,” he said.
(We also have presumptions about this; for example, you made a deposit a few days before the election during the campaign period. Let’s say you sent money to 20 people, or it was the first time you sent a large amount. You will then be presumed to be engaged in vote buying.)
Meanwhile, online transactors and locals caught with over half a million of cash with no valid reason or identification would be reported and brought to the nearest police station, according to Garcia.