ELECTION authorities should focus on preventing vote buying and scrutinizing how candidates fund their campaigns, former House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano has said.
This is amid renewed concerns about potentially widespread vote buying in the run-up to the May 2022 elections.
“Ang pinaka-guilty sa vote buying ang mga kandidato mismo. Bakit ko nasabi ‘yan? Kasi ang kandidato na tumanggap sa drug lord, sa gambling lord, sa e-sabong, sa smuggler, yan ang nabili na ng mga y’un. Ang pera na kinuha nila ay pambili lang ng boto,” Cayetano said.
Cayetano said he will not judge voters who take money from politicians because they may be suffering difficulties in their lives.
The former Speaker who filed his certificate of candidacy (COC) for the Senate as an independent bet earlier said passing the 10K Ayuda Bill would help prevent widespread vote buying by putting money directly towards people’s hands.
Cayetano also stressed the importance of holding presidential candidates accountable to their pre-election statements, emphasizing the need for presidential debates, familiarizing oneself with the presidential candidates, and being analytical when it comes to voting.
He also proposed four topics that he believes would benefit Filipinos if they were tackled by the presidential candidates in a debate: COVID 2019 (coronavirus disease-19) response, the Philippine economy, their plans of action, and their values.
“Lahat sila nagsabi ng dapat. Dapat may ganito, dapat. Pero paano? Sa debate kase, or kung ayaw ng debate then forum, mangyayari ito. Lalabas kung ano ang ampaw, lalabas kung ano yung solid,” Cayetano said.
While he expressed belief that presidential candidates do not need to be the best debater, Cayetano said they should be good communicators as the role of Chief Executive requires communicating with the international community, their Cabinet, the military, the police, and the people.
On whether the former Speaker is open to a partnership with the remaining presidential candidates who have not yet completed their Senate line up, Cayetano said he will choose the “objective” option.
“May ilan na nagtanong sa akin if payag ako mag guest candidate sa kanila. I will not impose, I will be grateful but I want to be able to assess the presidentiables objectively. I owe it to God, to myself, to my country na tingnan sila objectively,” he said.