I’m against vote buying,’ clarifies presidential candidate Robredo


Vice President Leni Robredo. - OVP

MANILA (Philippine Daily Inquirer/Asia News Network): Vice President Leni Robredo clarified on Wednesday (Oct 27) that she is against vote buying, despite a recent statement urging voters to just accept money if they are being targeted, but at the same time picking the candidate dictated by their conscience.

But Robredo explained that the reality on the ground — which is a result of a poor enforcement of rules on vote buying — is different and has to be dealt with.

Robredo said that it has been very frustrating to see incidents of vote buying, amid poor policing and the dismissal of cases despite glaring evidence.

According to her, she herself has tried to address the issue by filing a case for vote buying in 2013, but it was dismissed.

Robredo was in a virtual meeting with household workers on Tuesday, when she was asked about what people should do with vote buying. In response, she said that targets of vote buying activities should just accept the money as it may actually be taxpayers’ money.

But she also stressed that people should still vote as their conscience dictates, adding that there is no way for politicians to know who they voted for.

Robredo said her statement was reposted several times but without the context.

Earlier, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) reminded the public that vote buying is still a violation of election laws. According to Comelec spokesperson Director James Jimenez, such principles — accepting the money and voting based on conscience — should not even be suggested to voters.

There have been accusations of candidates for the 2022 elections doing vote buying, like in the case of social media users criticising Senator Manny Pacquiao for handing out money in his recent trips.

But Pacquiao, a presidential candidate himself, stressed that money-giving activities have been part of his advocacy since 2002 — way before he became a local politician.

On Tuesday, Pacquiao said that those who criticise his provision of financial assistance may only be jealous of the fact that he has been helping people for a long time now.

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