Press Release
June 13, 2022

Statement of Sen. Koko Pimentel on Vote-Buying

This is to make of record the undersigned's reaction to the reported statement of the Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Electoral Reforms and People's Participation (ERAPP) that the last May 9, 2022 elections were "uneventful, successful, and largely according to law and the expectations of our people". (This was reportedly uttered during the ERAPP hearing held last Tuesday, May 31, 20221, and was published in an article on June 1, 2022.2)

The last May 9, 2022 elections were marred and tainted by MASSIVE VOTEBUYING! This everyone knows. The 2022 elections shocked a lot of people with the extent of the vote buying as well as the amounts reported to have been offered for the people's votes.

During the hearing, COMELEC reported that its Kontra Bigay Task Force received 940 complaints in its Facebook page and 171 complaints in its electronic mail on vote-buying. The COMELEC Law Department received 105 reports.3 These are just the formalized ones. The last May 9, 2022 elections were far from being "uneventful". In addition to massive, rampant, widespread vote-buying, the elections were still marred by vote-counting machine (VCM) failures, defective SD cards, delays in the voting, and other problems which COMELEC should have anticipated if only it had learned from its experiences in the 2010, 2013, 2016, and 2019 automated elections.

For example, we should not accept the standard excuse that the number of VCM failures is smaller in 2022 than in 2019. We and COMELEC should find out why VCMs still fail on election day in spite of refurbishment, pre-LAT and LAT procedures, quality testing at the COMELEC warehouse, and final testing and sealing (FTS) procedures in the voting centers.

Also, COMELEC should not limit itself to investigating VCMs and SD cards which failed. We should also allow the opening of the seals and retrieval of SD cards in order to conduct a forensic examination of these cards and determine the accuracy of results.

We cannot cite surveys to support the claim that the election results matched the "expectations of our people". I know of one survey of a "reputable" survey firm4 on the partylist system which ranked at least two partylist organizations in the top 15, but which partylist organizations ultimately ended up lower than rank 60 in the official election results. What happened to the so-called "scientific basis of surveys" in this particular survey? Hence, we simply cannot use surveys to justify the election results.

We therefore must strongly denounce the massive vote-buying which took place in the May 2022 elections. Vote-buying at the massive scale we have seen this 2022 distorts the election results. Vote-buying has to be taken seriously, and, once and for all, the COMELEC must pursue the conviction of these law violators.

I address this question to the election winners who bought votes, where is the true joy in winning an election that you paid for?



1 Page 90, Investigation on the General Assessment of the 2022 National and Local Elections, Committee on Electoral Reforms and People's Participation.
2, June 1, 2022, Philippine Daily Inquirer.
3 Page 88, Investigation on the General Assessment of the 2022 National and Local Elections. Pulse Asia Survey dated April 16-21, 2022. 4 Pulse Asia Survey dated April 16-21, 2022.

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