Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Comelec Loses Touch with Reality

I mentioned the Philippines’ Commission on Elections yesterday in regard to their new rule banning the sale of liquor not just on election day, but for four days preceding the election. Now they have come out with a new rule, intending to limit vote-buying (a common practice here) by forbidding large withdrawals from banks.
For the first time, a "money ban" will be imposed for the May 13 midterm polls in a bid to counter the expected deluge of vote-buying operations with only a few days left before Election Day. Based on Commission on Elections (Comelec) Resolution 9688, the poll body has decided to prohibit withdrawal of cash or encash checks worth more than P100,000 as well as transport or possess cash exceeding P500,000 beginning May 8 to 13. "The Commission finds it necessary to adopt a multi-tiered approach to prevent and apprehend vote-buyers, particularly the regulation and control of the flow of cash, which is the primary medium used in vote-buying," Comelec said. Under the resolution, the Comelec is prohibiting the withdrawal of cash, encashment of checks and conversion of any monetary instrument into cash from May 8 to 13 exceeding P100,000 or its equivalent in any foreign currency, per day.
So, they are basically shutting down the economy from now until the election. P100,000 = $2,500, by the way, not a huge amount of money.

Fortunately, the central bank is pretty much telling Comelec to shove it, since the ruling violates several laws.
But the Bangko Sentral has refused to comply, asserting that it would "disrupt normal business and commercial transactions in the Philippines." [ … ] 
"The BSP is also constrained from enforcing the Comelec resolution because this would necessarily entail looking into bank deposit accounts. This is essentially unsound and in violation of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 1405, as amended (Secrecy on Peso deposits), and R.A. No. 6426 (Secrecy on foreign currency deposits)," it added.
The cash withdrawal restrictions, BSP is saying, are illegal in addition to being really, really stupid.

The part of that second linked article, quoting another of Comelec's fantasy-world rules, that really makes me laugh is this:
Resolution 9688, issued May 7, also empowers ordinary citizens to arrest vote buyers and vote sellers. 
“Persons who committed, [are] actually committing or [are] attempting to commit vote-buying and vote-selling, an election offense, can be arrested by any law enforcement officer or private person without warrant,” the resolution read.
Hilarious. Let's examine how that might work: Juan de la Cruz (the local equivalent of America’s Joe Sixpack) sees his barangay captain (the wardheeler) handing out money at a rally. He walks up and says, "You're under arrest."

Do you think the captain's thugs will kill Juan or just beat the snot out of him?

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