Newly installed Commission on Elections (Comelec) Commissioner Ernesto Maceda Jr. eyes certain measures to plug loopholes in the implementation of the election laws, notably on vote-buying.
Speaking on ANC’s “Headstart,” Maceda hinted at the registration of poll watchers as a solution to the problem.
Maceda has been designated as head the poll body’s task force against vote-buying.
“The usual context, when you hear about vote-buying is you know, you’ll find out that there is a crowd somewhere, there’s a payout you hear… and the normal explanation there is, well I’m paying my watchers,” he explained.
“Right now, offhand, before I even meet with the task force members, I would think that on the table would be suggestions like you know, if the usual context is payouts that you learn about, that the explanation is we’re just paying our watchers, in the automated overseas elections, there is a provision that, if you have watchers then they will all be registered,” he said.
Maceda also noted that certain election laws have to be given more teeth by amendments.
He alluded to the usually protracted and circuitous process of case prosecution in the country.
“One of the weaknesses is that…Section 266 of the Omnibus Election Code speaks of not allowing any arrests in connection with an election campaign for vote-buying or other election offenses unless it is by virtue of a warrant. So unless you chance upon them in an inflagrante situation, eh kailangan sasampahan mo pa muna yan ng kaso sa piskalya. Tapos aabot pa sa korte, so that’s one of the reasons (then you need to bring him before the fiscal, then it reaches the court, so it might take a long time.)
“And when the election is over, those who may have been ready to testify in the heat of the moment, you know ‘pag nag-cool down na yung mga passions and emotions, parang, ‘Okay, let’s just get along.’”