Recruitment a modern scheme for vote buying

May 2, 2013 11:54 pm 

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga, May 2 — Local candidates in some towns in the province are reportedly recruiting people from their respective localities who are willing to commit loyalty and even ready to sell their votes in the May elections.

It is just like networking. They are recruiting more to cover each barangay until they could cover the whole town.

There are coordinator, cluster coordinators and leaders in the barangay who are receiving regular allowances until election, Nora, (not her true name), unemployed and single mom told the Philippines News Agency in an interview.

Nora’s services during election period are for sale.

In fact, she admitted she has been selling her vote for nine years now.

At first, I was afraid and bothered by my conscience. But I do not have a job and I have children to support, she said.

She disclosed that she was paid by a candidate first P500 before a day before election and then P1500.

That was the time I've learned to become coordinator during election period and I am the one recruiting others, she said.

She revealed that a typical politician who wanted to win an election needs a bigger network that’s why the recruitment process began even before the start of the local campaign period.

It was sad that the political battle now is more of money.

The candidates who have lots of money being given to the people until the end won the election, she lamented.

As political coordinator, Nora usually hires cluster coordinators who also hire deputies in every barangay.

The deputy coordinators are tasked to recruit leaders in every barangay until such time that they have already saturated the community in favor of a particular candidate.

Others are also taking advantage of this season wherein they will give their vote to the highest bidder.

I will vote for the one who could give me more money, Mang Marcell (not his real name) said.

Under Section 261 of the Omnibus Election Code, vote-buying and vote-selling are prohibited:

"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…

"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."

Under the same law, violators shall face imprisonment of not less than one year but not more than six years. He or she shall likewise be deprived of the right to vote and be disqualified from holding public office.(PNA)

HBC/ZST/HPM/PS/PJN

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