Comelec urges Negrenses to report vote-buying

April 10, 2022 by No Comments

“REPORT vote-buying.”This was the call of Negros Occidental Acting Elections Supervisor lawyer Roberto Salazar, as he encouraged Negrenses not to be afraid in documenting such illegal activity, especially at the polling precincts.Salazar on Sunday, April 10, 2022, said they are willing to accommodate complaints on vote-buying activities as long as it is accompanied by concrete evidence.Under Section 261 of the Omnibus Election Code, vote-buying and selling 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 to make 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.”The Omnibus Election Code also stressed that any person, association, corporation, group or community who solicits or receives, directly or indirectly, any expenditure or promise of any office or employment, public or private, for any of the foregoing considerations can be charged for vote-buying.Any person found guilty of any election offense shall be punished with imprisonment of not less than one year but not more than six years and shall not be subject to probation, it said.In order to tackle any vote-buying incidents in the upcoming polls, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in the province has organized a task force.Aside from the Comelec, other members of the task force include the Department of Justice, Philippine National Police, and the Armed Forces of the Philippines.The Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) in Negros Occidental earlier announced that it is backing the creation of a task force to tackle vote-buying during the election period.PPCRV-Negros Occidental priest-in-charge Reverend Father Chris Gonzales, who also heads the Diocese of Bacolod’s Social Action Center, said the Comelec’s proposal is a great idea as it will further prevent vote-buying.He also regarded vote-buying as “the work of the devil” and is urging the public to treat their votes as “sacred,” saying such a form of democracy is not available in other countries.Gonzales also urged the public to treat their votes seriously, as the “future of everyone depends on it.”