Comelec pushes electoral reforms against vote buying

By on October 1, 2022 0
Robertzon Ramirez – The Filipino Star

October 2, 2022 | 00:00

MANILA, Philippines – The Electoral Commission (Comelec) is pushing for electoral reforms that could be implemented in future elections and address issues encountered in the May 2022 elections.

Among the reforms sought are broadening definitions of vote buying as an election offence, granting Comelec police powers to arrest anyone who breaks election laws and revising the definition of election expenses .

To achieve this, Comelec spokesman Rex Laudiangco explained in an interview with The Chiefs on OneNews, the polling body would have to create a committee that would be responsible for drafting the rules and proposed electoral reforms, a important point in the agenda of President George Erwin García.

“We have asked Congress to expand the definition of vote buying to such an extent that we can tie the act of vote buying to principals – politicians,” he said, noting that the Buying and selling votes through electronic funds transfers were among the challenges faced during the May 2022 national and local elections.

Some candidates, he added, have resorted to sending money through e-wallets to buy votes.

Laudiangco also revealed that they have asked Congress to give Comelec the power to arrest vote-buying violators with the help of the Philippine National Police and other law enforcement agencies.

He pointed out that under the current setup, a complaint would have to be filed first before an arrest could be made.

Apart from that, Laudiangco said Comelec also wants a clear definition of election expenses, noting that the current rule is “already unrealistic”.

Congress, however, has not responded to their clamor as the House of Representatives and Senate are focused on postponing the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections to next year.

Meanwhile, Laudiangco said full printing operations of official ballots and other accounting forms for the barangay and SK polls would begin Monday at the National Printing Office (NPO) in Quezon City. .

He added that civic groups and other stakeholders are welcome to attend the activity. Comelec aims to print around 92 million ballot papers by October 30.