The Commission on Elections has appealed to the public to report incidents of vote buying as the campaign season for the May 9 synchronized polls began yesterday,
Comelec spokesman James Jimenez encouraged Filipinos to document the violation and file a complaint.
“Our appeal to the public is that when you see a violator, report it even if they are your allies. If you see instances of vote buying, there is something you can do. You can document when you see vote buying and file a complaint because that is the most important aspect in the fight against vote buying,” Jimenez said.
The poll body earlier said giving money as a form of “ayuda” (assistance) or as a raffle prize falls under vote-buying.
“That’s prohibited, that is vote buying. You can’t give anything of value to supporters to encourage them to vote. You can no longer give money away and say it is for ayuda. You can’t walk around with a cash gun and make it rain. You can’t do that,” Jimenez said.
“You might say that [ayuda or raffle] is for another reason but none of us were born yesterday. We all know that it’s going to be for vote-buying purposes,” he added.
He underscored the importance of pursuing a case against violators to ensure that those who commit vote-buying are punished.
“Please stay with the complaint so we can prosecute to the finish,” Jimenez said.
The 90-day campaign period for national posts such as president, vice-president, senator and party-list groups began yesterday, while the 45-day campaign period for local aspirants will start on March 25.