As the campaign period for the national candidates in the 2022 polls begins, the Commission on Elections reminded Filipinos to be wary of vote buying activities that they may encounter.
Comelec Spokesperson James Jimenez on Tuesday shared tips on what the public can do if they spot such initiatives.
According to him, they should do the following:
- Document the vote buying activity safely
- Formally file a complaint
- Pursue the case “to the end.”
Jimenez said that filing a complaint does not equate to posting pictures of it on social media.
If you see vote buying here’s what you do: 1) document the vote buying activity – but do it safely. 2) file a complaint – posting pictures of campaign paraphernalia stapled to money is NOT the same as formally filing a complaint. 3) pursue the case to the end. #votesafepilipinas
— James Jimenez (@jabjimenez) February 8, 2022
Vote buying and vote selling are considered offenses under the Omnibus Election Code.
According to the code, any person who gives, offers or promises of money or anything of value in order to induce anyone or the public to vote for or against any candidate or withhold his vote in the election is considered a violator.
It added 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, is also a violator.
The act of conspiring to bribe voters is also prohibited under the election code, as well as the act of betting on the results of the polls.
Vote buying can land one in jail for one to six years, be disqualified to run for public office and be forfeited to participate in the elections through voting.
Jimenez previously said that the public should not accept any money from candidates or their team, even if they will vote with their conscience.
“Vote buying is an election offense regardless of financial situation or noble intentions. It shouldn’t be done nor it should be suggested to the voters,” he said last October.