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PACC warns against selling your vote.

MANILA, Philippines — The Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) advised Filipino voters not to vote in exchange for money barely two days before the May 9 national and municipal elections.

The PACC advised voters to choose candidates with a good track record and agenda in a Facebook post on Friday.

“(The) PACC asks everyone to vote in accordance with their conscience and preferences, based on the candidate’s platform and commitment to lead this country to a better future,” it stated.

The commission pointed out that under Batasang Pambansa 881, or the Omnibus Election Code, vote-buying and vote-selling are illegal (OEC).

“Any person who gives, offers, or promises money or anything of value, gives or promises any office or employment, franchise, or grant, public or private, or makes or offers an expenditure, directly or indirectly, or causes an expenditure to be made to any person, association, corporation, entity, or community in order to induce anyone or the general public to vote for or against any candidate,” according to Section 261(a) of the OEC.

Any individual, association, corporation, group, or community is prohibited from soliciting or receiving “directly or indirectly any expenditure or promise of any office or job, public or private, for any of the foregoing considerations.”

Two or more people, whether candidates or not, will be penalised if they “come to an agreement concerning the commission of any violation.”

The PACC cautioned that those who commit an electoral infraction might face up to six years in prison without the possibility of parole.

The commission went on to say that, depending on the OEC, the guilty party would be barred from holding public office and denied the ability to vote.

It also stated that any foreigner convicted of an election infraction will face deportation following the completion of their sentence.

A punishment of not less than PHP10,000 will be imposed on every political party that commits an election infraction.

After criminal charges have been filed against the party’s corresponding officials who have been proven guilty, the sanction will be applied.

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) will establish a Citizen Complaint Center to act as a communication mechanism for persons who have personally witnessed incidences of vote-buying and vote-selling.

The complaints can be sent to the local field offices’ official e-mail addresses, the Commission’s Law Department, or the offices of the province, city, and municipal prosecutors.

The Comelec’s Law Department will receive a report from local election offices detailing all vote-buying and vote-selling cases submitted with their individual field offices.

The Department of Justice’s prosecuting arms will also submit a bi-weekly report detailing all incidences of vote-buying and vote-selling reported to local and national prosecution offices.

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