“Vice president” and presidential candidate Leni Robredo in an online forum with kasambahays (household servants) made a statement encouraging her supporters to be a party to vote buying. The Manila Bulletin reports how Robredo told her audience in that forum to “[accept] money from politicians during the campaign season”…
“Parati kong sinasabi tanggapin nyo kasi galing din naman ‘yan sa atin. Yung pinambibili ng boto, pera din ‘yan ng taumbayan. Tatanggapin mo pero ang iboboto mo kung sino ‘yung nasa konsensya mo (I always say to accept it because that comes from us. The money they use to buy your vote, that’s people’s money, too. Accept it, but vote who is in your conscience),” she said during a virtual meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 26, with members of Kasambahay for Leni.
First of all, how is Robredo sure that, as she claims, the money used to buy votes is “people’s money”? Campaign funds are mostly sourced from private donors. Robredo seems to suggest that all campaign funds were illegally obtained. That is evidently not true and she is misleading her supporters by suggesting that accepting these bribes is the right thing to do. Worse, Robredo is telling them that this is money that is theirs to take. That is so messed up!
Second and the more important point, in issuing the above statement, Robredo violates the law as per Section 261 of the Omnibus Election Code where it is stated in paragraph (b), “Conspiracy to bribe voters. Two or more persons, whether candidates or not, who come to an agreement concerning the commission of any violation of paragraph (a) of this section and decide to commit it.” Paragraph (a) which the above refers to states…
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a. Vote-buying and vote-selling.
1. 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 to make an expenditure, directly or indirectly, or cause an expenditure to be made to any person, association, corporation, entity, or community in order to induce anyone or the public in general to vote for or against any candidate or withhold his vote in the election, or to vote for or against any aspirant for the nomination or choice of a candidate in a convention or similar selection process of a political party.
2. Any person, association, corporation, group or community who solicits or receives, directly or indirectly, any expenditure or promise of any office or employment, public or private, for any of the foregoing considerations.
By giving her blessing to these kasambahays to receive bribe money and by assuring them that this is right conduct during an election, Robredo has, effectively come to an agreement concerning the commission of any violation of paragraph (a) (quoted above) with her supporters.
Receiving bribes is, by itself, a crime. Robredo should know better than to condone — in this instance, encourage — criminal activity. This is astoundingly irresponsible behaviour coming from no less than a Philippine “vice president” as she is pushing her followers to enter into an illegal transaction with criminals.
To be fair, it is clear that Leni Robredo is just plain dumb. A true bonafide crook would not go and make stupid public statement about one’s own crooked intentions. However, committing a crime because of plain stupidity is still a crime — just like a stupid driver driving in a stupid way that puts lives at risk is a criminal. Leni Robredo should be made accountable for her actions. Now na.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.