Comelec: Vote buying still a crime even if voters ‘vote according to conscience’

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) opposed the idea of people accepting money from even if they will vote according to conscience.

On Tuesday, Vice President Leni Robredo advised voters to accept the money when bribed in election campaigns but still vote for the desired candidate. This is despite her admitting that vote-buying is not good. She said that’s the people’s money that just comes back to them.

“I disagree with the notion of taking the money and voting according to your conscience. Vote buying is an election offense regardless of situation or noble intentions,” said Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez, Wednesday.

“‘Di dapat ginagawa, at di dapat sina-suggest yan sa mga botante.”

VP Leni Robredo earlier said that people should accept money from politicians but vote according to their conscience.

“Lagi kong sinasabi, tanggapin niyo kasi galing sa inyo ‘yan. Pera ‘yan ng taumbayan. Pero iboto mo kung ano ang nasa konsiyensiya mo [I always say, take the money because that money came from you. That money came from public funds. But vote based on your conscience],” Robredo said.

Comelec: Vote buying still a even if voters ‘vote according to conscience’

“Pakiramdam nila, may utang na loob sila kasi tinanggap nila ang pera, pero hindi. Kapag namimili ng boto at iyong resulta ng eleksyon ay talo siya, mag-iisip na ‘yun na hindi effective ang pagbili ng boto [Some might feel indebted, but if the candidate loses the election, they will think twice about doing the same thing next time],” she added.

She later clarified that she condones vote buying.

“‘Yung sinabi ko kahapon, ‘yung mali ‘yun. ‘Yung vote buying mali ‘yun pero over the years, very rampant siya dito sa atin. In fact, kahit dito sa atin, very rampant ang vote buying… ‘yung frustrating dito sa lahat kasi hindi maayos ‘yung pag-i-implement ng regulations about vote buying,” Robredo said.

(Vote buying is wrong, however, the practice is very rampant over the years even here. What’s frustrating is that the regulations against are not being implemented properly.)

“Aware tayo sa nasa batas, hindi tayo masaya na hindi ito nae-enforce pero dapat bukas ‘yung mata natin sa realities on the ground. Bukas ‘yung mata natin sa realities on the ground, kung hindi maayos ‘yung enforcement, ano ba ‘yung gagawin natin? Kung hindi maayos ‘yung enforcement ano ba ‘yung gagawin natin?” she added.

(I am aware of the law. We are not happy that the policy against it is not being enforced properly. We should be open on the realities on the ground. If regulations are not properly enforced then what should we do?”

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