[In the news] Votes for sale: From P100 to P3,500 per person -INQUIRER.net

Votes for sale: From P100 to P3,500 per person
By Philip C. Tubeza, Philippine Daily Inquirer
May 11, 2013

inquirerHow much is a Filipino’s vote worth these days?

According to the National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel), candidates are offering up to P3,500 for a single vote in Ilocos Norte, P3,000 in neighboring Ilocos Sur, P2,000 in Zamboanga Sibugay, and P100 in Tawi-Tawi.

In a letter sent to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Thursday, Namfrel chair Corazon de la Paz-Bernardo said reports from the group’s volunteers showed that vote-buying—either with cash, groceries, and even farm implements—is expected to intensify as Election Day nears, with some candidates even resorting to “bidding” to corner votes.

Comelec Chair Sixto Brillantes Jr.’s advice to voters: Take the money and junk the candidates.

“Take it but junk those who give you money. That’s the only way to do it so that the next time these people will not give away money because they know they will lose,” Brillantes said in an interview on Friday.
The Comelec tried to fight vote-buying by prohibiting bank withdrawals in excess of P100,000 and carrying cash worth more than P500,000, but President Benigno Aquino III rejected the strategy on Thursday, saying it was bad for the economy, and the Supreme Court, acting on a petition brought by bankers, stopped it on Friday and called for oral arguments.

Brillantes said vote-buying had become more rampant because politicians had fewer means to “manipulate” the vote after the automation of elections in 2010.
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