Is vote-buying illegal in the Philippines? Yes, vote-buying is illegal in the Philippines. According to Section 261 (a) of the Omnibus Election Code of the Philippines (Batas Pambansa Blg. 881), vote-buying and vote-selling are among the prohibited acts which are punishable by the said law.
Who is guilty of vote-buying?
According to Section 261 (a)(1) of the Omnibus Election Code of the Philippines, 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.
In other words, a vote-buyer is someone who pays or promises to pay money or any value to a voter or group of voters in exchange of their votes for or against any candidate during elections. This means that vote-buying doesn’t only involve paying someone to vote for a candidate but also to not vote for a candidate.
Vote-buying are usually committed by the candidates and their supporters.
Who is guilty of vote-selling?
According to Section 261 (a)(2) of the Omnibus Election Code of the Philippines, vote-selling is committed by 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 considerations mentioned in Section 261 (a)(1).
In other words, vote-selling are committed by the voters, entities that control voters, or the ones who sell or receive money in exchange of their votes for or against any candidate.
What is the punishment for the offense of vote-buying and selling?
According to Section 263 and 264 of the Omnibus Election Code, any person found guilty of vote-selling, vote-buying and other election offenses under the code shall be criminally liable and be punished with:
- an imprisonment of not less than one year but not more than six years;
- the guilty party shall be sentenced to suffer disqualification to hold public office and deprivation of the right of suffrage;
- if he is a foreigner, he shall be sentenced to deportation which will be effective after the prison term has been served;
- any political party found guilty shall be sentenced to pay a fine of not less than ten thousand pesos.
Can the person who is guilty of vote-buying or vote selling be arrested?
According to Section 266 of the code, no person shall be arrested or detained at any time for an alleged offense of vote-buying and (or) vote-selling committed without a warrant of arrest.
However, during the May 2013 National Elections, the Comelec issued Resolution No. 9688 , which includes an act allowing the warrantless citizens arrest of persons engaged in vote buying or selling.
Why you should not sell your vote?
A single vote can cost P500 to P5,000 in the Philippines. It could make you happy for a single day, buy some gadgets, or even feed your family for a few days. But remember that your one vote costs more than that! Its value is equivalent to the future of our country, your family, and yourself.
Remember that the right to vote for a candidate that you really like is your basic human right in the Philippines. Don’t let that fundamental right of yours as a human being be violated by someone else.