Vote buying and vote selling are considered second most violated election offenses in 2010, according to the Commission on Election (COMELEC).
Under the Omnibus Election Code, "Any person who gives, offers, or promises money or anything of value in order to induce anyone to vote for or against any candidate or withhold his vote in the election” is guilty of this offense.
Vote buying can also be in the form of giving, offering, or promising the following: money, employment, promotion, food, groceries, gadgets, livestock, or anything of value, water and electricity services, franchise or grant, infrastructure projects, scholarships, political, financial, and other forms of favors.
The COMELEC admits difficulty in trailing violators albeit the fact that these acts are widespread.
"Before 2013, it was rather difficult to catch these people in the act. Because obviously, both parties have an interest in not being exposed," explained COMELEC spokesperson James Jimenez.
"The vote buyer doesn’t want to be exposed; the vote seller doesn’t want to be embarrassed for being revealed as a person with no sense of civic duty. They're both complicit, so it’s very difficult."
"Vote buying will always be a reality that we have to contend with," Jimenez said.
The COMELEC instructs the public to continue being careful and attentive as the campaign season starts on February 9.
"For the most part, communities are aware of vote buying operations. That's how it spreads, by word of mouth. Report it," Jimenez cautioned.
'Vote-buying is a problem that will stay with us until such time that people are enlightened about it and how it’s ridiculous,' said Jimenez.
Anyone can report vote-buying and other campaign violation through the use of #SumbongKo on social media.