The Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) has expressed its support to the Commission on Elections’ (Comelec) anti-vote buying and selling committee ahead of the upcoming Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (BSK) polls.
The poll body’s “Kontra Bigay” committee is significant towards ending long-time practice of vote buying and selling during elections, said PPCRV chairman Evelyn Singson in Filipino.
“Vote buying has always been part of our elections. It is a welcome development that the Comelec has officially acknowledged that it is a problem and they have to do something to discourage the practice,” said Singson in a Radio Veritas report.
Singson said she understands that selling votes is rooted in poverty, but urged the electorate to understand the importance of their votes and the responsibility that comes with it.
“Quite apart from poverty that entices people to sell their votes, we need to convince our voters of the value of their votes and their responsibility to choose competent and well-meaning leaders who will govern rightly to benefit them and the country,” she said.
Comelec launched on September 8 the committee on Kontra Bigay, which will manage reported complaints on vote-buying incidents.
Complainants are not required to file a formal complaint, said Comelec Chairman George Garcia.
“Just throw at the committee their complaint and the committee will be the one to investigate and gather evidence,” said Garcia.
He added that the complainants might even be protected under the government’s witness protection program.
The BSKE is scheduled on October 30, while the campaign period will run from October 19 to 28.
The poll body has stated before that candidates caught buying votes may face imprisonment and disqualification. Electorates selling votes may also face similar punishment.