MANILA, May 7, 2013— Vote buying in the country has become more sophisticated and rampant than ever as the May 13 election approaches, a Catholic Church-backed poll watchdog said.
The Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) said that political parties had become wiser about buying votes to avoid detection and to ensure victory.
Ana Singson, PPCRV communications and media director, said candidates or their emissaries are tempted to buy votes “in the dead of night.”
“Without being specific in Northern Luzon and even in Mindanao, we are getting reports that some parties rove at night with CVL (computerized voters’ list),” Singson said.
“The voters are asked to sign thinking that it’s official because they have the list… now knowing that it’s already part of the vote buying process,” she said.
The PPCRV official said they’ve started receiving reports from their volunteers and concerned citizens nationwide of massive vote buying since last February.
“It’s alarming for us because it’s getting rampant. The target units before were only families but now it’s per barangay. What’s next, provincial? Oh my gosh!” she added.
But Singson admitted that vote buying is difficult to prove.
“It’s very hard. You do not know who they are. It’s very hard to find people who would testify (in court),” she added.
Singson urged the people to continue reporting cases of vote buying to PPCRV “and we would even help you bring the case to Comelec (Commission on Elections) if needed,” she said. (Roy Lagarde)