MANILA, March 13, 2013—As voters head to polling places across the country on Monday to cast their votes, a church-based group called on electorates to preserve the sanctity of the ballot and not sell their votes.
“If you know any candidate buying votes, do not vote for them,” Dilaab movement, an organization that campaigns for clean and honest elections told electorates.
Doing so will only perpetuate the climate of corruption that is seemingly entrenched in Philippine elections, it said.
“We have to exorcise the demons of patronage politics during elections that has made us sink into abysmal depths with the ugly face of vote buying and its variations, like the giving of ‘pahalipay’ [favor],” the movement added.
Any self-respecting person would not buy or sell votes, it said; adding that doing so will only leave the person indebted to the giver.
“Apart from moral or religious considerations, the commerce of votes does not make sense for both voters and candidates,” it added. “…We have tried this path of least resistance for a long time now and it has only led to societal and cultural decline.”
Vote-buying in various forms is rampant in Philippine politics. In February this year, Dilaab movement launched its “I Vote Good” campaign to change mindsets and form consciences against vote buying and vote selling.
The campaign has five calls: 1) Pray for our country and the elections; 2) Actively participate during elections by voting; 3) Reject vote buying and all its variations; 4) Discern choices using the LASER test (Lifestyle, Action, Supporters, Election Conduct, Reputation); and 5) Share their judgments to others.
But Dilaab admitted that “any effort to curb vote buying and selling will fail if various sectors do not come together for this and if no concrete solutions are offered.”
More than merely telling people not to sell their votes, what are needed are long term solutions that would address the chronic problem, such as “conscience formation and inclusive economic growth that broadens the ranks of beneficiaries as well as making arrests on those engage in vote buying and selling,” it said. (CBCPNews)