The Bohol Provincial Police Office (BPPO) on Monday expressed concern over the possible emergence of vote-buying through digital platforms during the 2022 elections amid the prevalence of cashless transactions and mobile banking in the country.
According to Lieutenant Col. Joseph Berondo, chief of the Police Community Affairs Unit of the BPPO, it was Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar who first sounded the alarm on cashless vote buying at the national level but it is possible for political candidates in Bohol to go digital as well.
“Di g’yud na imposibli na magsugod dinhi,” he said.
Berondo admitted that the use of digital platforms in vote buying may complicate the police’s efforts to monitor the illegal activity.
“When it comes to nganang using technology, maski ang atong cybercrime dili g’yud kapugong kung dunay magpadala through remittance, bayad centers,” Berondo said.
However, Berondo assured that the police are already looking into countermeasures to prevent vote buying through digital means.
He said the possible measures that will be devised to counter online vote buying would come from the PNP’s national command in Camp Crame in Quezon City, with the police’s anti-cybercrime unit spearheading the implementation.
“Pagkakaron dili pa ta makapagawas og official guidelines sa atong probinsya kay mag agad ra man ta pirme sa taas. Og unsay guidelines nila, mao nay atong isibo,” said Berondo.
Eleazar, in a statement issued last week, also admitted that it would be difficult to police vote-buying through digital platforms but noted that they are already coordinating with other agencies including the Commission on Elections to come up with safeguards against the illicit activity.
“It’s not impossible for this to happen because of the wide use of cashless transactions amid the pandemic. People will really think of encouraging the public to sell their votes,” Eleazar said.
“Monitoring vote-buying activities in the 2022 elections will really be a great challenge to us but I assure the voting public that we will put in place safeguards against this practice,” he added.