Friday, May 17, 2013

Is It Vote-Buying if the Bills Are Worthless?

There is a lot of vote-buying in Philippine elections – a very large portion of the electorate is very poor.  Exactly how much is something that defies quantification, but I will take the word of those who seem to know.

But this is apparently a new twist on an old game:
Fake peso bills were used by candidates from this province in a massive vote buying spree in last Monday's [mid-term] elections, a police report said. 
Senior Superintendent Isaias Tonog, police provincial director, told reporters that fake peso bills are now circulating in several towns of Northern Samar after [the] counterfeit money [was] distributed to voters by candidates. Voters were given P3,000 to P7,000.  
Tonog disclosed that P200, P500, and P1,000 fake peso bills have been retrieved by his men in the towns of Lavezares, Rosario, Lao-ang, and Pambujan as of yesterday and more fake peso bills have been reported in several other towns in the province. "I've been receiving reports that fake peso bills are now circulating in several municipalities and this could be in all towns of this province." [ … ] 
He said the proliferation of fake peso bills is hurting the economy because the business establishments are reluctant or do not anymore accept P200, P500, and P1,000 peso bills for fear they are bogus. 
P3000-P7000, by the way, is about $75-$175. This is more than I had thought -- I had been told that votes were being bought for twenty-five to fifty bucks. But I guess if you're handing out bogus bills, it doesn't matter if you get a bit lavish.

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