Robredo on vote buying: Take the money, but vote according to conscience


MANILA, Philippines — Vice President Leni Robredo gave advice on how ordinary people can handle vote buying, saying that they can accept the money being offered but still vote for the candidate they want.

"Mali yung pagbibili ng boto, pero ‘yung sinasabi ko sa tao, tanggapin niyo. Parati kong sinasabi tanggapin niyo kasi galing rin naman ‘yan sa atin. ‘Yung pinambibili ng boto, pera din naman ‘yan ng taongbayan," Robredo said Tuesday at a virtual forum with household service workers or kasambahays.

(Vote buying is wrong, but I tell people, accept the money. I always say accept it since that also came from us. What’s being used to buy votes is also the money of the people.)

FROM INTERAKSYON: ‘Don’t sell your vote’: Vote buying feared as national elections near

Robredo was asked during the forum for advice on how people should deal with vote buying if they encounter it.

Her response is similar to the late Manila Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin’s advice on vote buying to “take the bait, not the hook.”

“‘Wag kang boboto dahil pakiramdam mo mayroon kang utang na loob kasi tinanggap mo. ‘Di ba? ‘Yung sa akin, tanggapin ang pera, pero iboto sa konsensiya,” Robredo said.

(Don’t vote because you feel indebted to them because you accepted the money. Right? For me, accept the money, but vote according to your conscience.)

She also told kasambahays that they should not worry about the possibility of other people finding out who they voted for as there is no way for anyone to do this.

The Commission on Elections has stressed that the claim that there is a way to monitor how a specific voter votes is among the persistent pieces of misinformation surrounding elections.

READ: Vote buying an integral part of Philippine elections — Duterte

Vote buying, which carries a penalty of one to six years imprisonment, has been a perennial problem in Philippine elections which seems to have no solution in sight.

The Comelec brought forward a potential solution to vote buying in 2013, when it tried to ban the withdrawal of more than P100,000 a day, the transportation of cash beyond P500,000 and the encashment of checks exceeding P500,000.

But this was eventually halted by the Supreme Court and the poll body has not attempted to revive the proposal.

On Sunday, her office and her volunteer group dismissed social media posts claiming volunteers in the caravans and other activities held over the weekend were given "incentives" — P100 and a Fudgee Bar snack, according to some claims — for joining as fake.

In a statement, Team Leni Robredo said it "strongly condemns any type of support purchase and we call on the public to be more critical in sharing these types of information on social media."  

"As the volunteer arm of the Leni Robredo presidential campaign, TLR believes in the principles held by our constituents." — Xave Gregorio

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