Poll body to implement money ban five days before BSKE

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 22) – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) will be implementing a money ban five days before the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections (BSKE) scheduled on Oct. 30, a Comelec official said Tuesday.

During the BSKE Security Command Conference on Tuesday, Comelec chairperson George Garcia said persons caught carrying cash that is ₱500,000 and above and those who made transactions via electronic wallets to 20 people will be presumed engaging in vote buying.

“Noong 2015 ginawa na ng Comelec ‘yan pero ‘yun ay pag-withdraw ng ₱500,000. Binago na po natin ang strategy, ‘di natin pipigilan ang withdraw ang ipu-punish ay yung pagdadala ng ₱500,000 lalo na ‘pag pumasok ang period ng kampanya,” Garcia said.

[Translation: In 2015, the Comelec did that but it was for a withdrawal of ₱500,000. We have changed the strategy, we will not stop withdrawing, what will be punished is bringing ₱500,000 especially when the campaign period starts.]

The chairman said exempted from the money ban are messengers, cashiers, and other employees whose job involves transporting money for their companies.

“‘Yan po ang panahon ng pagbili ng boto. Hindi naman absolute yung prohibition na ‘yan. May exemption naman tulad ng cashier na kailangan magpa-sweldo. Kailangan lang employee’s ID,” he added.

[Translation: That's the time to buy votes. But the prohibition is not absolute, there is an exemption like a cashier who needs to be paid. The only requirement is employee's ID.]

The Philippine National Police (PNP), meanwhile, assured that they will exert the utmost courtesy when conducting their inspections at checkpoints.

“Tutulong ang PNP diyan sa pamamagitan ng nilatag nating checkpoints titingnan ang mga sasakyan na may checkpoints, plain view doctrine ang ipapatupad sa pamamagitan ng pagtingin sa mga sasakyan, pero bawal ang pagsaliksik at paghalughog,” PNP Public Information Chief chief BGen Red Maranan said.

[Translation: The PNP will help with that through the checkpoints we have laid out. Vehicles with checkpoints will be checked, plain view doctrine will be enforced by looking into vehicles, but searching and searching are prohibited.]

COMELEC led a command conference among law enforcement agencies such as the Armed Forces of the Philippines, PNP, and the Philippine Coast Guard to wrap up preparations for October polls.