MANILA -- Candidates are buying votes for as low as P20 in some areas, the Commission on Elections said Sunday, expecting a surge in the illegal act as the May 13 midterm polls approached.
Police are "working hard to go after vote buying and vote selling", reports of which have been monitored in Cavite and Muntinlupa, said Comelec Education and Information director Frances Arabe.
"Mayroong P20, P50 na ina-attach [ang mga kandidato] sa kanilang flyers. It can go as high as P15,000," she told DZMM.
(Twenty peso, P50 bills are attached to their flyers. It can go as high as P15,000.)
Some candidates, she said, are also offering to "refund" the fare of voters.
"We expect na dadami pa iyan (the incidents will increase) as election time approaches," Arabe said.
No candidate, however, has ever been disqualified or removed from his post due to vote-buying because complainants often back out of legal proceedings, admitted the official.
"Maraming fina-file pero walang nahahatulan," Arabe said of vote-buying complaints.
(Many are filed, but no one has been convicted.)
"Bumoto po tayo ayon sa ating konsensya," she urged voters.
(Let's vote according to our conscience.)
Meanwhile, election officers in some areas were conducting a final testing and sealing of defective vote counting machines and memory cards that were replaced with new units on Saturday, said Arabe.
"Sa mga gamit, sa ating mga teacher, pati sa ating PNP, ready na kami," she said.
(In terms of equipment, our teachers and the Philippine National Police, we are already ready.)
Voters can now check their voting precinct numbers at the Comelec website, she added.
Some 18,000 seats from local councils to the upper house Senate are up for grabs when more than 61 million voters are called to cast ballots on Monday.