PACC Commissioner Greco Belgica also reminded candidates on Monday’s election to heed the President’s call for a clean and honest elections.
“The President is serious in having a clean election,” Belgica said during a press conference Friday.
Belgica said vote-buying and election fraud has been destroying the country’s democratic process.
He said his office is currently processing 15 reports for possible filing at the Comelec.
“Vote-buying is a corrupt election practice that obstructs our democratic process by impeding the exercise of our rights to freely choose our leaders,” he said.
Comelec defines vote-buying as the act of any person who gives, offers or promises money or anything of value, directly or indirectly, in exchange of voting for or against any candidate.
Vote-selling, on the other hand, is the act of a person, association, corporation, group or community, who solicits or receives, directly or indirectly, in exchange of voting for or against any candidate.
“When a candidate chooses to pay for your votes, they show utter disregard for our democratic process and a willingness to use illegal means to further their interests,” he added.
Belgica said his office received both verified and unverified vote-buying reports that came from Santiago Isabela City, Ozamiz, Bangued, Abra, La Union, Manila, Pasay and Muntinlupa.
Comelec Commissioner Al Parreño confirmed there are 10 pending cases of vote-buying before the Comelec based on the records of its legal department.
Parreño said the poll body will pursue the investigation and filing of criminal charges against those involved in vote buying.
“So even if they win in the elections, they can still be disqualified from holding public office,” he said.
Under the law, any person found guilty of committing election offense, including vote buying, shall be perpetually disqualified from holding public office.
Aside from facing imprisonment, those convicted of vote buying also lose their right to vote.
The Comelec official said those found selling their votes would also be charged. (PIA InfoComm)
By Susan G. De Leon