“With regard to vote buying, you cannot control that because it involves the distribution of envelopes. But if you terrorize, you send goons, that’s a different story. We will clash. Whether you belong to my party or not, you know, behave” (…) ”Do not terrorize the people, the elections must be free and it must be credible” – President Rodrigo Duterte (19.04.2022).
Now that the term is soon over and the successor is soon elected in a few days. The Filipino President Duterte in the a recent rally went very soft on a common trick. The trick is that the richest campaigns and such is going around with envelopes and buying voters. They are coming with a few thousands pesos, if not lesser depending on the region and what office, which is at stake. The various of campaign teams has couriers who are walking around in the Barangay’s and ensuring the voters get paid.
However, the Omnibus Election Code of 1985 is very clear. Even if it is a “common” practice, which is why even I know about it from people I know in Mindanao. How it just occur and is a feature of any election. Where there is even talks of the amounts and which side that possibly gives the most to the electorate. Therefore, for a man who wanted to rule with “rule of law” and with “justice” as his program. It is sad to see that his defeatist to the code and not wanting to stop the election offense and practice, which is harming “free and fair elections”. Hard to be credible and to justify it when candidates are trying to out perform each other with pesos, instead of policy and political programs…
Just read the law here!
“Sec. 261. Prohibited Acts. – The following shall be guilty of an election offense:
Vote-buying and vote-selling.
1. 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 in the election, or to vote for or against any aspirant for the nomination or choice of a candidate in a convention or similar selection process of a political party.
2. 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.
b) Conspiracy to bribe voters. – Two or more persons, whether candidates or not, who come to an agreement concerning the commission of any violation of paragraph (a) of this section and decide to commit it” (Omnibus Election Code, 1985).
Its really striking that Duterte isn’t going hard on that. The man who worked so hard against the “pork barrels” and against “hidden budgets” for representatives and government officials. To ensure there was less bribes and streamline government entities. That has been done in his term.
So, it is sad to see him go out like this. Go so soft and mellow. Maybe his tired and looks forward to retirement. Nevertheless, it wasn’t as expected. Because, he goes hard on election violence and such. He won’t have any of that or intimidation of voters. However, his cool and doesn’t see a big problem with the spending, buying and indirectly bribing the electorate. Since the money cannot be traced and whatnot. By saying that… there is no real oversight over the campaigns, the donations or the transactions made by them. That is really weak and shows there is a need to put strings on that, if this election offense was to ever cease to exist.
Duterte going mellow. Who knew? That wasn’t anticipated… but it has happened. It is tragic, but life goes on. I expected more of him, but that’s maybe to much to ask. He rather take a step back and let bygones be bygones. Peace.