BAGUIO CITY– The election officer of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) warned members of the multi-sectoral anti-vote buying campaign in the city that their accreditation as members of the movement and voter education campaigners will be revoked once they will be involved in partisan politicians in the course of implementing the advocacy being piloted tested in the city.
City election Officer lawyer John Paul Martin said that before the local election office will release the accreditation of groups and individuals wanting to be involved in the voter education campaign of the poll body, they will be made to sign an affidavit stating among others their non-involvement to partisan politicians but instead for the advancement of voter education and anti-vote buying and anti-vote selling campaign.
He said the accredited voter education advocates will be issued by the local election officer the required appointments and identification cards containing the anti-vote buying logo to serve as their credentials in conducting the campaign in the barangays or within their groups.
“We want to bring back the credibility of the elections because it seems that vote buying and premature campaigning has now become a norm in our society that is why we must take the lead in bringing back to its stature the conduct of the political exercise,” Martin stressed.
The city election officer did not discount the fact that there will be individuals and groups who will be taken advantage of their being accredited voter education and anti-vote buying advocates to insinuate their chosen candidates for the various elected positions that is why it is important for the public to cooperate with the poll body by reporting the illegal and questionable activities of the partners of the Comelec in the voter education campaign so that appropriate actions could be taken against them which could lead to the revocation of their accreditation.
Last week, numerous multi-sectoral groups and candidates aspiring for different elected positions got their acts together and committed their unwavering and uncompromising support to the anti-vote buying and anti-vote selling campaign that was launched by the Comelec and its partner agencies to ensure the conduct of honest, orderly, peaceful, inclusive and transparent elections in the city during the upcoming May 2019 mid-term elections.
However, some various sectors raised the issue that there might be a number of unscrupulous individuals and groups who might present themselves as staunch supporters of the anti-vote buying campaign only to advance the interest of their chosen politicians when conducting voter education meetings in the city’s barangays, thus, the need for the poll body to institute the appropriate monitoring system to make sure that such questionable activities of partisan advocates will be prevented so as not to cast doubts on the integrity of the advocacy against vote buying and vote selling.
While it is true that the elections in the city is peaceful, Martin underscored it is still important for the candidates to prove that the conduct of the election is really clean because as per reports that he had been receiving, there are numerous candidates who are already liable of vote buying. And there are numerous voters who are also liable for vote selling among other similar violations of election laws, rules and regulations.
By Dexter A. See