Fliers right outside the polling precincts. Ballot selfies by friends and celebrities. People offering free food on your way to vote, with P1,000 bills inside.
If you're an observant citizen, you may have noticed other prohibited acts as you cast your vote last Monday. Now that the elections is (almost) over, let’s take a look at some of the most obvious offenses done by our dearest kababayans—in the hope that this will curb it once and for all.
Now remember, anyone accused or suspected of anything illegal is innocent until proven guilty, no matter how guilty that person appears to be. The following, however, were just so facepalm-worthy we couldn’t help but notice.
Vote-buying and vote-selling
Even before the 90-day election period began, reports of envelope-giving were already rampant. From Quezon Province, Leyte, Camiguin, Bicol, and other places from North to South, news about vote-buying and vote-selling flooded our timelines.
It only intensified come Election Day. Stapled sample ballots with P20s to P500s, with the name of the voter and precinct number, were given away door-to-door. This election offense doesn’t solely cover the distribution of cold-hard cash as free transportation and food are also considered as (stealthy) forms of vote-buying. At its most creative (and ludicrous), people hid P1,000 bills in their free food. Lugaw with sanlibo, anyone?
Carrying of deadly weapons
The law says you cannot carry any deadly weapon in the polling place (and within a radius of 100 meters).
Voting in some Maguindanao towns were disrupted by gunfire, leaving one voter dead; seven people were shot dead and another was injured in an ambush in Rosario, Cavite. As of this writing, 10 people are reported dead under election-related circumstances. Polling stations were attacked, vehicles were ambushed, vote-counting machines were stolen. Supporters versus supporters. Filipinos versus Filipinos. Lagot kayo kay Digong!
Children distributing sample ballots
We all still remember how that anti-Duterte ad that used children made us feel, right?
Threats, intimidation, and other forms of coercion
Some may not realize this, but threats, intimidation, terrorism, or any violence, injury, punishment inflicted upon any person is considered an election offense. Probably the best example of this is the case women's rights and climate action advocate Renee Karunungan filed against some Mayor Rodrigo Duterte's supporters. Karunungan stated that she had gotten thousands of hate messages and even grave threats because of her dissenting opinions about Duterte.
Photos via Atty. Levito D. Baligod (vote-buying), Elle Cabiling (child with sample ballot)
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