MANILA - The spokesman of the Commission on Elections on Tuesday publicly disagreed with Vice President Leni Robredo for saying that voters who are offered money by politicians should accept the money but still vote according to their conscience.
In a tweet, Comelec Spokesman James Jimenez said he disagrees with "the notion of taking the money and voting according to your conscience."
"Vote buying is an election offense regardless of financial situation or noble intentions. Di dapat ginagawa, at di dapat sina-suggest yan sa mga botante," he said.
In an online forum Tuesday, Robredo, who is now running for president, said the public can take money from unscrupulous politicians, but vote according to their conscience in the 2022 elections.
"Mali iyong pagbili boto, pero iyong sinasabi ko sa tao, tanggapin n’yo. Parati kong sinasabi tanggapin n’yo kasi galing ‘yan sa atin. Iyong pinangbibili ng boto, pera rin ‘yan ng taongbayan," she said in an online forum organized by Kasambahay For Leni.
(Buying votes is wrong, but I always tell people, accept it. I always say accept it because that is from us anyway. Public funds are used to buy votes.)
"Pero tatanggapin mo, pero ang iboboto mo kung sino iyong nasa konsensya mo. Huwag kang boboto dahil pakiramdam mo meron kang utang na loob kasi tinanggap mo," continued the Vice President.
(But accept it, then vote for who your conscience dictates. Don't vote for someone just because you feel like you owe them something when you accepted the money.)
Robredo said there was no way for politicians to know if the people who accepted the money actually voted for them.
If they lose, it would make them realize that buying votes is not effective and they would stay away from this strategy, she said.