‘Vote selling is also an election fraud’

(Photo: Daniel Go, via a (CC BY-NC 2.0) licence)

By Jennifer P. Rendon

Just like vote buying, vote selling is also considered an election fraud.

This, the Iloilo Police Provincial Office (IPPO) stressed amidst reported vote buying incidents in Iloilo province.

Colonel Adrian Acollador, Iloilo police chief, told the voting public that those who sell their votes are equally liable of an election offense.

Acollador cited Section 60 of Comelec Resolution 10727 dated November 10, 2021 which provides that, “any voter or watcher may challenge any person offering to vote on the ground that the voter: a) Received or expects to receive, paid, offered or promised to pay, contributed, offered or promised to contribute money or anything of value as consideration for his/her vote or for the vote of another; b) Make or received a promise to influence the giving or withholding of any such vote; or c) Made a bet or is interested directly or indirectly in a bet that depends upon the results of the election.”

Vote-buying and vote-selling are also prohibited acts under Sec. 261 of the Omnibus Election Code.

“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.”

The provision also makes it illegal for “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.”

Acollador made the reminder after several social media posts were monitored by the Iloilo PNP alleging that there were vote buying incidents in some areas in Iloilo province.

“We do not only discourage vote buying, we also enjoin the voters not to sell their votes,” he said citing that vote buying will not take place if no one sells his or her vote.

Meanwhile, Acollador issued a directive to chiefs of police and mobile force commanders to intensify random checkpoints to avert vote buying and other forms of election fraud.

He also calls upon any individual who alleges to have witnessed vote buying to report the incident to the nearest police station, and to stand as witness against the violators.

“It is not enough that you report. Execute an affidavit. Present evidence if you can so that we could give lessons to anyone who engages on any type of election fraud,” he said.