Buying votes using public money



“For gifts blind the eyes even of wise and honest men, and cause them to give wrong decisions.” -Deuteronomy 16:19


Vote buying has made headlines on several social media networks just weeks before the midterm elections. It’s an awful reality–taking note of its prevalence especially now that vote buying has taken different forms –rice, gadgets; needs, wants. But the most disheartening part of it all is how the people who get interviewed on tv compromise their unwise decision to their urgent needs. It gets uninteresting just knowing how some people get satisfied being helped out for the mean time while satisfying the greed of the ‘already powerful’ for the next few years. So we start with poverty, and still end in poverty. We work hard, do a decent living, and live a quiet life. But at the end of the day, we find ourselves being pressed by price hikes; get underpaid; see justice delayed, if not denied; and worst, being robbed of the rights and privileges by the same persons to whom we have entrusted to serve in a position to defend those.

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Vote buying and vote selling is an election offense under Article 22, Section 261 of the Omnibus Election Code which it further defines as:

(a)Vote-buying and vote-selling. – (1) 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.(2) Any person, association, corporation, group or community who solicits or receives, 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.(2) 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.

I’d open my house to someone who knocks and asks for my vote in exchange of something pecuniary. But that would be if I were practical enough because I don’t think selling a right would mean no less than practical for a first-time voter. (For the moment) as I count days before the upcoming 2013 elections, I scribble hope that the rest of the electorates are more principled than practical. For some, nothing can dictate -not even money- what’s right and wrong except the wisdom of conscience, but for most –unfortunately-inducements will make do for awhile because it might be their only way to get back without realizing it’s not even a fair share. Power and gold in the government is inviting; this remained true since time immemorial. And the government always had enough for our needs but not for their wants, so they say.

But perhaps it’s time to flee from the perception of vote buying as the real problem.Instead, we fix our senses to a new perspective. We need to rid ourselves of vote selling, because it’s really one thing we can do something about. Both parties are in dire need, we can’t deny that. They give, we take. But theirs is a long-term advantage, we may have benefited but what’s next after they’re elected? Do we choose to go back to the normal paceof poverty or do we want a healthier cadence?

We may have sold our very right and chance to better life already but in three-year time, we can change or improve the way things work come 2016. Now that’s a lot of time to think over and observe. Look around, you may be in a neighborhood painted with progress or otherwise; or in a government subsidized-institution with budget cut back or advantageously otherwise.

Our votes do not have any pecuniary value, because no one could ever really afford it.Now putting it business-wise, lending our votes is a more sensible investment than selling it right away, I remember a candidate (who happens to be business man) say during their campaign rally. That way, we can at least be sure of untainted service promised to the electorates and not mere governance of undeserving authorities. After all, we-the electorates- rule.

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Now, they’re all elected. And we are yet to know who was true to his words and who will be true to the people. As for us, we stop doing what we always do: complain about corruption. Somehow, some of us allowed those to happen back when we were given the chance to build a nation. While for some who invested and lent their votes, we anticipate the service as return of a well-thought investment, from time to time.

And as for the next three years, this is the government we chose. Godspeed!



Author: Elizer Joy Abanilla Valentino

Elizer is a BS Accountancy student at the University of Northern Philippines. She works for CBAA Biznews.








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