MANILA - Vice President Leni Robredo on Wednesday clarified that she does not condone vote-buying after her statement in an online forum with household helpers telling them to accept bribes but still vote according to their conscience.
Robredo, who is seeking the presidency next year, said she wants to seek awareness on the apparent lack of enforcement of election laws and rules against vote-buying.
“So sa atin, aware tayo sa nasa batas. Hindi tayo masaya na hindi ito na-e-enforce. Pero dapat bukas ang mata natin sa realities on the ground. Kung hindi maayos ang enforcement, ano ba ang gagawin natin?” Robredo told reporters in Naga City.
(We're aware it's in the law. But we're not happy it's not being enforced. We should be aware of the realities on the ground. If enforcement is not done well, what should we do?)
She recalled that she was once a victim of vote-buying when she ran for a local position, but her complaint was dismissed.
She reiterated that voters should still vote for their favored candidates even though they accepted bribes.
“Huwag sanang isipin ng nakatanggap na mayroon siyang obligasyon na iboto kung sino ang namigay,” Robredo said.
(Those who receive it should not think they have an obligation to vote whoever gave it.)
Comelec Spokesman James Jimenez disagreed with Robredo's statement that voters who are offered money by politicians should accept the money but still vote according to their 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.
Senator Manny Pacquiao, another 2022 presidential aspirant, said Tuesday those who sell their votes put their future at risk.
Meanwhile, Robredo said she agreed with the suggestion of Pacquiao on the holding of face-to-face debates.
“Tingin ko, dapat face-to-face para ang issues, natutuldukan. Kasi mahirap din ang debate sa social media o nagsasagutan lang. Hindi nabibigyan ng linaw ang issues,” she said.
(It should be done in person so issues are addressed. It's hard to debate on social media. Issues are not clarified.)
Robredo also said that she agrees with proposals to revisit the rules on the substitution of candidates who only file their certificates of candidacy as “placeholders.”
“Pakiramdam ko parang mockery siya ng election laws,” Robredo said.
(It feels like a mockery of election laws.)
The Vice President expressed gratitude to her supporters in the region as she attended the blessing of the headquarters of Solid Leni Bicol.
Robredo and Pacquiao are among 97 individuals who filed their candidacy for the country's highest office next year.
The list, which includes Senators Panfilo "Ping" Lacson, Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa, Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso, former Sen. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, Jr., former Defense Secretary Norberto Gonzales, former presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella, and labor leader Leody De Guzman, among others, will be trimmed in the coming months to remove those found to be nuisance candidates.
The official campaign period for national position candidates for the May 9, 2022 elections will start only on Feb. 8, 2022.
FROM THE ARCHIVES