Comelec wants restriction on heavy cash withdrawals to fight vote buying
MANILA, Philippines – To curb vote buying in the elections on Monday, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) is planning to impose restrictions on “unusual” cash withdrawals from banks.
Comelec chairman Sixto Brillantes told reporters Tuesday that they have met with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) regarding their proposal to regulate the flow of cash.
He said that in their proposal, a certain threshold of cash withdrawal will not be allowed. The threshold has not yet been decided.
“And we’re also regulating the unusual possession and transporting of cash,” he said.
Brillantes clarified that only cash transaction will be regulated “which means trade and industry will not be affected because we can allow the use of checks and other instruments.”
He further said that they are still debating regarding the possession and transporting of cash.
“We want [the mere act of possession] to be considered as a presumption that you are going to vote buy,” Brillantes said.
The BSP however was against the proposal of the Comelec, he said.
“They are not really very happy about our proposed resolution,” Brillantes said.
“[The] advice of central bank is there are too many issues involved if we do something about regulating money or circulation of money,” he said.
Brillantes said they will either come out with a final resolution Tuesday afternoon after their en banc session or scrap the idea all together.
“Either [we] proceed with our intention regulating the circulating of cash during election period or hindi na namin ituloy kung masyado madami negative consequences,” he said.
The BSP had told Comelec that its plan would constitute something like “restraint of trade” and could also violate bank secrecy, Brillantes said.
He however said that he disagreed with BSP’s opinion saying: “I don’t see any violation of secrecy because we won’t be looking at their account, only the withdrawal of cash.”