Candidates may potentially be charged with vote-buying for offering free rides
VOTE-BUYING – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has warned candidates that they could potentially face charges if they offer free rides on October 30, the day of the election.
Vote buying is an illegal and unethical practice that occurs during elections. It involves candidates or their supporters offering, giving, or promising something of value to voters in exchange for their votes. This “something of value” can range from money, goods, favors, or services.
The aim is to influence voters and secure their support in favor of a particular candidate or party. Vote buying undermines the principles of fair and democratic elections by compromising the free will of voters. It distorts the concept of representative democracy by substituting informed decisions with personal gain or external pressures.
The consequences of vote buying are profound. It corrodes the integrity of the electoral process, casting doubt on the legitimacy of elected officials. It weakens the accountability of elected representatives to serve the public’s best interests, as they may prioritize the interests of those who financially support their candidacy.
Laws in many countries explicitly outlaw vote buying due to its damaging impact on democracy. Election authorities work to detect and penalize such activities to preserve the integrity of the electoral system, safeguarding the fundamental principle of free and fair elections.
Meanwhile, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) has warned candidates that they could potentially face charges of vote-buying if they offer free rides on October 30, the day of the election. “Nakasanayan kasi natin iyong nagbibigay ng libreng sakay papunta sa eskwelahan, iyon din po mismo ay sana mapigilan din natin,” appealed Comelec Chairperson George Erwin Garcia last Friday.
According to him, such actions could lead to the suspension of the proclamation of winning candidates, or even the suspension or disqualification of the candidates themselves.
In connection with this, the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) is already investigating an alleged vote-buying incident involving candidates for the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan following Operation Kontra Bigay in a warehouse in Navotas City.