Robredo on vote buying: Take the money, but pick candidates based on 'conscience'

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 26) — Vice President Leni Robredo on Tuesday gave a piece of advice for Filipinos who may encounter vote buying ahead of the 2022 polls.

Asked about the issue during a forum hosted by Kasambahay for Leni, Robredo said voters can opt to take the money — but reminded them to still pick candidates based on their conscience.

"Alam mo, mali siya. Mali iyong pagbibili ng boto," Robredo stressed. "Pero iyong sinasabi ko sa tao, tanggapin niyo. Tanggapin niyo kasi galing din naman iyan sa atin. Iyong pinambibili ng boto, pera din iyan ng taumbayan...tatanggapin mo pero ang iboboto mo kung sino iyong nasa konsensya mo."

[Translation: You know, it's wrong. Vote buying is wrong. But what I tell people is, accept it. I tell them to accept it because that's public money. Accept it, but still vote for the candidate based on your conscience.]

Robredo admitted that vote buying continues to be rampant, citing instances in her hometown when she previously ran for Congress.

But the presidential aspirant said it is hard to catch perpetrators. She added the practice can be easily carried out especially with the rise of digital platforms.

"Dapat hulihin kasi mali iyon," Robredo said. "Pero ngayon kasi madali na. Kasi ngayon, may GCash, 'di ba. May GCash ngayon, so madali na iyong bilihan ng boto."

[Translation: They should be caught, because that's wrong. But now it's easier. Because now, we have GCash. There's GCash now, so vote buying is easier.]

Vote buying continues to be a practice in the elections that has endured in recent years, studies have showed. In a 2018 research, all 400 respondents from poor communities in Metro Manila said they have been offered to sell their vote and know others who have sold theirs. More than 90% percent said they took the offer.

READ MORE: 'You can't win against vote buyers'

Back in 2016, presidential aspirant former senator Bongbong Marcos also shared the sentiment on vote buying, saying the public would know better than to fall for "dirty tactics."

"Ang sinasabi ko, sige kunin ninyo ang pera, inyo naman talaga yan, tapos gawin ninyo 'yung gusto ninyo," Marcos said at the time.

[Translation: What I'm saying is, get the money, that's yours, then do what you want.]