BSP help sought vs candidates buying votes via digital system


OH, the bane of technology.

While cash transactions over digital platforms denied Covid transmission, they’re a source of concern for the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

So much so that Comelec Commissioner Rowena V. Guanzon announced the poll regulator is eyeing the assistance of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to go after candidates who will engage in illegal vote buying through digital payments in the 2022 elections.

Guanzon issued a statement after receiving reports people are eyeing using the electronic-wallet GCash for vote buying.

GCash, a mobile application owned and operated by Globe Telecom Inc. subsidiary Globe Fintech Innovations Inc., allows users to pay for goods and services as well as exchange cash sans physical money.

“Vote buying is now going ‘techy’ because these politicians cannot go house-to-house and then distribute money,” Guanzon said last Monday at an online forum organized by the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines.

She said BSP monitors transactions, which go through e-wallets like GCash.

Guanzon warned they will be holding not only candidates accountable but also e-wallet operators for election offenses such as vote buying in the 2022 national and local elections.

Candidates as well as voters who will engage in vote buying activities can be jailed, fined and disqualified from holding public office.

Last June, the poll body said it still looking for ways to address the use of technology in vote-buying. Doing so, according to the Comelec, would involve coordination with other government agencies.

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