Proposed bill seeks to impose harsher penalties vs cyber vote buying and syndicated vote buying

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A PROPOSED bill was filed in Congress that seeks to impose harsher penalties against those involved in “cyber vote buying” and “syndicated vote buying.”

In the proposed measure called “Integrity of Suffrage Act,” it is timely and necessary to amend Batas Pambansa Bilang 881 or the Omnibus Election Code, where a provision states that those convicted of vote buying face one up to six years imprisonment.

That is why under the proposed bill, an individual convicted of cyber vote buying or selling of votes such as those that use money remittance applications, online banking and others, should face not less than five years and up to 10 years imprisonment.

Those that will be convicted as part of a syndicate engaged in vote-buying through illegal transactions such as pretending to be financial assistance, scholarship or fuel subsidy should face the same set of penalties under the proposed bill.

The Houe bill explained that the more than 30-year-old provisions of the Omnibus Election Code are already outdated and now, there are newer and more sinister ways of buying and selling of votes through the use of syndicates and modern technology.

The saddest part, the measure pointed out, is that the ones abused in the buying and selling of votes are those from the poor sectors of society.

That is why the bill, in order to protect the electoral process and the right of the people to vote, there is now a need to impose heavier penalties to deter those who would want to attempt to destroy the integrity of the elections.

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