President Duterte described illegal vote buying as an “integral part of elections” in the Philippines after casting his vote in Davao City.
“The practice of buying votes has been an integral part of an election in the Philippines. There is no one who doesn’t buy votes, believe me,” he said during a press conference at his polling station today (Monday, May 13).
“Point me to whoever didn’t buy a vote”.
Even though he emphasised that people caught selling and buying votes would be “prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” he still justified the illegal act.
“You know, when you start to give money, like I said to the COMELEC (Commission on Elections), it’s not because I’m buying the vote of the fellow. It’s because I’m giving him money to go to the precinct, cast his vote, and go home. Not everyone has money,” he said.
“Vote buying can take many forms; that is truly hard. For as long as the Philippines remains a poor country, for as long as the feudal system exists in the rural aggravated by the communists [it will continue].”
‘Massive’ vote buying
As reported by The Inquirer, the president made similar remarks at a Hugpong ng Pagbabago campaign rally on Friday. He said: “Just tell them, you took the money not for the vote but because you want your fare to get home.”
Despite its prevalence, vote buying is illegal in the Philippines.
Speaking at a press conference today, national police chief General Oscar Albayalde said there had been reports of “massive” vote-buying across the country.
There have been a number of arrests, including Quezon City mayoral candidate Vincent “Bingbong” Crisologo, who was arrested yesterday. He has since been released and was able to vote at 3.30pm.