Is this another joke?
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte called the illegal act of vote buying an “integral” part of elections in the Philippines, right after casting his votes in Davao City today.
“The practice of buying votes has been an integral part of an election in the Philippines. There is no one who doesn’t buy votes, believe me,” he told reporters in English and Filipino during a press conference at his polling precinct.
“Point me to whoever didn’t buy a vote,” he added.
While Duterte said that those caught selling and buying votes will be “prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” he still justified the act of giving away money during election season.
“You know, when you start to give money, like I said to the COMELEC (Commission on Elections), it’s not because I’m buying the vote of a fellow. It’s because I’m giving him money to go to the precinct, cast his vote, and go home. Not everyone has money,” Duterte said.
“Vote buying can take many forms; that (vote buying) is truly hard. For as long as the Philippines remains a poor country, for as long as the feudal system exists aggravated by the communists [vote buying will continue to exist].”
During a Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) campaign rally on Friday, Duterte said that it is ok to take cash to fund a voter’s commute, The Philippine Daily Inquirer reported.
“Just tell them, you took the money not for the vote but because you want your fare to get home,” he said.
Vote buying is illegal in the Philippines and is punishable by law.
Philippine National Police (PNP) chief General Oscar Albayalde said in a press conference today that they’ve received reports of “massive” vote-buying. This includes Quezon City mayoral candidate Vincent “Bingbong” Crisologo, who was arrested for a vote buying-related incident last night.
The COMELEC earlier urged voters to report incidents of vote buying and vote selling to the authorities to ensure that erring candidates would be prosecuted.