Bishop Abet Uy of the Diocese of Tagbilaran, who has long been vocal against vote-buying, said that the illegal activity is “destructive” and has led to the election of many unqualified leaders.
Uy, during the Bohol Civil Society’s launching of its drive against vote-buying over station dyRD on Monday, said vote-buying has been swaying voters to elect some unqualified leaders while deterring qualified individuals who do not have funding from running.
“Daghan kaayo mga dili angayan na nahimong pangulo unya daghan pud na angayan unta na wa mahimong pangulo and the reason is simple, kwartahay ang atong election. So kung gusto ta og naay mausab, para naay epekto, naay kausaban ang atong kinabuhi, we have to change our ways,” Uy said.
The bishop also expressed concern over politicians who will buy votes in the May elections, pointing out the tendency for them to find illegal means to recoup their expenses.
“Di gyud ta angay pagasto sa politiko kay mao lagi, kung atong pagastuon sila mangita gyud og paagi—di ta mo ingon na tanan—pero dako gyud ang temptasyon na mangita sila og paagi na maka pondo og kwarta gawas sa ilang sweldo kay ibawi sa ilang nagasto para sa mga taw na ilang gipamalitan sa boto,” Uy said.
The prelate called on the public to exercise restraint by not selling their votes if they want change.
Uy admitted that there are some who have already accepted vote-buying as part of the norm but assured that he has not given up on his advocacy.
He said it is part of his job to dissuade individuals from committing wrongdoings.
“Ang problema pud ani na niabot ta sa punto na ni-surrender na ta, ang atong huna-huna ba na di na ta mausab, pero ako wa man ko mo-surrender kay naa man tay tulubagon sa Ginoo ani tanan. Bahala pa og magpabilin mo na ngana, basta akong papel isip magtutudlo ako g’yung buhaton magsige ko og dasig sa taw kay mao man niy tahas na gihatag sa Ginoo nato. Unya kung di mo patuo kamo nay manubag ana sa Ginoo,” he added.
Uy reminded the voting public that they also have themselves to blame when they elect an unqualified leader, particularly if they sold their votes.
“Daghan na ta sige’g bagutot, sige’g panaway sa atong mag politiko pero wa gyud nato basula ang atong kaugalingon na moay dakong hinungdan na ang atong kahimtang ingon ani karon,” he said.
Corruption and vote-buying
Uy has been open about his abhorrence of vote-buying and corruption through public statements including in his homilies.
In March last year, the bishop alleged that he knows of a government official who pocketed at least P20 million a month in kickbacks from businessmen.
Uy however did not name the alleged corrupt government officer or indicate if he or she is an elected official of the province.
In one of his homilies in July 2021, Uy said that those who sold their votes during the past elections do not have the right to get angry or complain against the performance of elected leaders.
In November, Uy also released a music video of a Boholano-composed song on the ills of vote-buying in hopes that catchy melody and lyrics would help individuals vote based on their conscience, not on who gives more money in exchange for votes. (A. Doydora)