Re-electionist Senator Leila M. de Lima urged the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) to swiftly investigate election law violations, including vote-buying.
De Lima, a former election lawyer, said the COMELEC should exert extra effort in promoting clean and fair elections, especially now that the national elections are roughly just two months away.
“COMELEC, on its own can, investigate and prosecute election law violations. The Constitution and the Omnibus Election Code are clear on this. COMELEC has to be more pro-active and aggressive in addressing vote buying and other election malpractices,” she said.
“With or without complaint, COMELEC must act promptly and decisively on reports of vote-buying with the view of prosecuting those involved. Hindi pwedeng magbulag-bulagan lang ang COMELEC sa lantarang mga paglabag sa batas at pangmamaliit sa kanilang mandato,” she added.
Recently, Cavite Governor Jonvic Remulla was criticized for giving away cash prizes in a dance contest during the campaign rally of the tandem of presidential aspirant Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and his running mate, Sara Duterte.
De Lima, who is seeking re-election under the Pangilinan-Robredo ticket, lamented how there have been several reports of alleged vote-buying recently that are yet to be investigated.
“Panahon na para sampulan ang mga sangkot. Hindi pwedeng puro lang lip service. We should never normalize vote-buying,” she said.
De Lima further said “Malaking dagok sa ating demokrasya ang vote-buying. We have seen how massive and rampant this malpractice is in past elections. Should COMELEC not flex its muscles this time, this scourge of vote-buying will most surely exacerbate in the current election campaign.”
“The voters’ sovereign will need to be freely and genuinely expressed, free from improper considerations like money,” she added. (30)