In Malaybalay, vote-buying was anything but clandestine

In Malaybalay City, vote-buying was anything but clandestine. Some candidates personally and openly handed out 20-, 50-, 100- or 500-peso bills to voters.

The more discreet candidates did it through so-called leaders and runners who distributed the petty boodle together with sample ballots. Nighttime provided a good cover for carrying out an act prohibited by law but which has become ingrained in Philippine election culture.

MindaNews personally witnessed a ‘leader’ distributing sample ballots stuffed with bills to his neighbors who were on his list of target recipients. He said it came from a congressional candidate. He felt sure his candidate will win in his neighborhood because the ‘leader’ of another bet had reportedly failed to deliver the goods. A third candidate, apparently confident of victory, did not engage in vote-buying, at least in that neighborhood.

Financially hard-up candidates for the city council who are desperate of winning shelled out between 20 and 50 pesos per voter ‘bought’. Moneyed ones who trailed in the surveys spent an average of 200 per voter. A candidate for congressman handed out at least

250 pesos per voter. Those who have no cash to spare could only wait and trust that fate would be kind to them. 

The different sample ballots distributed together with the ‘goodwill money’ also suggested last-minute junking of some candidates by their partymates and the accommodation of some of those in the opposing camp.

A city councilor aspirant confirmed that most of his colleagues campaigned only for themselves. “Ang akong kontra dili ang naa sa pikas kundili ang akong mga kapartido,” (My enemies are not those on the other side but my own partymates) he lamented 

In another development, the perennial problem of missing names of voters was experienced in many precincts in Malaybalay based on visits to polling centers in the city.

Several voters said they could not locate their names even if they had gone to various public schools where voting took place.  Some said their names were transferred to other precincts 

Voting was orderly and peaceful. All listed voters in some precincts had cast their ballots before 2pm.( H. Marcos C. Mordeno/MindaNews)