Reds warn politicians against vote buying in 2022

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) reiterated its policy against vote buying within areas under its control during elections.

CPP chief information officer Marco Valbuena in a statement Thursday said the New People’s Army (NPA) prohibits politicians from engaging in vote buying within so-called revolutionary areas during the conduct of “reactionary elections.”

“Vote buying is one of the starkest manifestations of the rotten electoral system of the reactionary government. In the countryside, it reinforces and takes advantage of feudal social relations and perpetuates patronage politics that favor the ruling classes,” Valbuena said.

“Those who engage in vote buying are the most rotten of politicians,” the CPP spokesperson added.

Valbuena’s statement is in obvious reference to Vice President and presidential aspirant Leni Robredo’s earlier advice to voters to receive monies from politicians wishing to buy their votes but to choose according to their conscience nonetheless.

Robredo’s comment received flak and trended online.

The Commission on Elections said it is both illegal for candidates to buy votes and for voters to receive them.

National scourge

Valbuena said the CPP and NPA’s prohibition of vote buying in areas they control is aimed at ensuring that election campaigns are conducted in an orderly manner and not used to sow violence and terror among the people.

“Vote buying is prohibited in the revolutionary areas because it is typically accompanied by intimidation or coercion. It furthermore tends to sow disunity and bickering among the people with some receiving more than the others,” Valbuena explained.

The CPP spokesperson warned that politicians who will be caught in the act of vote buying will be apprehended and reprimanded.

“Monies will be seized and immediately turned over to the local organs of political power and reported to higher territorial governmental organs. These will be used to augment local funds used for socioeconomic programs for the benefit of the people,” he said.

Valbuena added that political parties and candidates who wish to conduct election campaigns in the revolutionary territories are also not allowed to bring firearms or have armed bodyguards, including military and police escorts or their own goons.

“This is to prevent them from subjecting people to armed intimidation, as well as avoid armed encounters during their campaign sorties,” Valbuena said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Vote buying remains rampant, poll watchdog reports

Poll watchdog Kontra Daya said that vote buying remains rampant in today’s elections, a practice that has in fact started as early as January.

The group in its mid-afternoon report said it has received allegations of vote buying in the provinces of La Union, Bataan, Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Camarines Norte, Negros Occidental, Aklan, Leyte, Samar, Cebu, Davao, Agusan del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur.

Amounts reportedly range from P200 to as much as P4,500.

In Metro Manila, Kontra Daya received reports on vote buying in Quezon and Taguig cities.

Volunteers on the ground described the vote buying as “widespread,” “massive,” “brazen,” and “insulting”, Kontra Daya said.

“There were several reports detailing how vote buying is coursed through their respective barangay officials. Others are reportedly ‘helping’ voters find their precincts in exchange of votes,” the watchdog said.

In Moises Padilla town in Negros Occidental, police have reportedly arrested those allegedly involved in vote buying.

Among those confiscated are sample ballots with P1,000 each attached.

As many as 28 suspects have been arrested, a separate report sent to Kontra Daya said.

Moises Padilla is under Comelec control following the murders of of reelectionist Councilor Jolomar Hilario and a relative last March 31.

In Samar, vote buying reportedly began as early as January, Kontra Daya said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)