Robredo clarifies remark on vote-buying, says she's just stating ‘reality on the ground’

Published October 27, 2021, 10:12 AM

by Raymund Antonio

Vice President Leni Robredo clarified on Wednesday, Oct. 27, that she is not condoning the act of vote-buying, but merely stating the realities on the ground.

Vice President Leni Robredo (Solid Leni Bicol/Facebook)

Robredo, who is in hot water over the issue, pointed out during a briefing held in her home region of Bicol that it is “wrong” to engage in vote-buying and that the main problem is that regulations against it are not being properly implemented.

“Aware tayo sa nasa batas. Hindi tayo masaya na hindi ito nae-enforce pero dapat bukas ‘yung mata natin sa realities on the ground (We are aware of the law. We are not happy that this is not being enforced but our eyes should be open to the realities on the ground),” she said.

“Hindi natin kino-condone iyong vote-buying. In fact, isa tayo sa matagal nang nakikipaglaban sa vote-buying. Pero hinihingi natin sa ating mga awtoridad ang enforcement nito maging maayos (We are not condoning vote-buying. In fact, we are one of those who have been fighting against vote-buying. But we’re asking from the authorities to enforce this effectively),” Robredo added.

Before she joined politics, the Vice President was a pro-bono lawyer working with farmers, fisherfolks, and abused women. She recalled her experiences of filing cases versus those engaged in vote-buying.

Those cases were dismissed, she said.

READ: Robredo appeals to voters on vote-buying: ‘Accept the money, but vote by conscience’

“Iyong frustrating sa lahat dito kasi hindi maayos ‘yung pag-implement nung (What’s frustrating here is the lack of effectiveness of the implementation of the) regulations against vote-buying,” Robredo lamented.

The lack of reinforcement ends up being abused by political candidates who engage in the practice, she noted, with voters feeling like they owe a candidate their votes simply because they accepted the bribe money.

“Wag sanang isipin ng nakatatanggap na mayroon siyang obligasyon na iboto kung sino ang namigay (The recipients shouldn’t think that they have an obligation to vote the one who gave the money),” the presidential aspirant said.

During an online meeting with household service workers or kasambahays on Tuesday, Oct. 26, Robredo was asked for advice on what the voters should do if they are offered money by candidates.

She said they should accept the money but vote according to their conscience.

Supporters and critics were quick to point out on social media that vote-buying is illegal and that the Vice President shouldn’t condoned the practice.