With just two days before the May 9 national and local elections, the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) reminded the Filipino electorate not to cast their vote in exchange for money.
In a Facebook post on Friday, the PACC told voters to choose candidates with a good track record and platform.
“(The) PACC urges everyone to refrain from selling your votes and vote in accordance with one’s conscience and preference, based on the candidate’s platform and dedication to lead this country to a better future,” it said.
The commission noted that vote-buying and vote-selling are prohibited acts under Batasang Pambansa 881 or the Omnibus Election Code (OEC).
Section 261(a) of the OEC states that buying and selling of votes involve “any person who gives, offers, or promises money or anything of value, gives or promises any office or employment, franchise, or grant, public or private, or makes or offers an expenditure, directly or indirectly, or cause an expenditure to be made to any person, association, corporation, entity, or community in order to induce anyone or the public, in general, to vote for or against any candidate or withhold his vote in the election, or to vote for or against any aspirant for the nomination or choice of a candidate in a convention or similar process of a political party.”
The same provision prohibits any person, association, corporation, group, or community to solicit or receive “directly or indirectly any expenditure or promise of any office or employment, public or private, for any of the foregoing considerations.”
Two or more persons, whether candidates or not, “who come to an agreement concerning the commission of any violation” will also be punished.
Individuals who commit an election offense will be jailed for up to six years without probation, the PACC warned.
The commission added that the guilty party, based on the OEC, would face disqualification to hold public office and deprivation of the right of suffrage.
It also said any foreigner found guilty of an election offense would be subject to deportation that will be enforced after the prison term has been served.
Any political party that commits an election offense will be sentenced to pay a fine of not less than PHP10,000.
The sanction will be imposed after criminal action has been instituted against the party’s corresponding officials who have been found guilty.
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) will establish a Citizen Complaint Center that will serve as a communication channel for citizens who will report incidents of vote-buying and vote-selling that they have personally witnessed.
The complaints may be filed personally or through the official e-mail addresses of the local field offices, the Law Department of the Commission, or the offices of the provincial, city, and municipal prosecutors.
The local election offices will submit to the Law Department of the Comelec a report of all vote-buying and vote-selling cases filed before the respective field offices.
The prosecuting arms of the Department of Justice will likewise submit a bi-weekly report of all incidents of vote-buying and vote-selling filed before the local and national prosecution offices.
Source: Philippines News Agency