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Reject candidates buying votes

Watched the fifth game of the seven-game semifinal series between Phoenix Fuel
Masters and the San Miguel Beermen at the Cuneta Astrodome on April 22 where the latter
eliminated the former in the race in that crucial game.

But this is not the story I’d like to share with you readers about that game. It was the
arrival, as usual, of administration senatorial candidate and presidential favorite Bong Go in
the venue. Go had been observed to be riding on his free media mileage every time he
watches a game of the Philippine Basketball Association hence his attendance in most of its
games lately.

Again, his strategy of riding on this free media mileage is not the story in this
particular game.

During the halftime break, which is not aired live, understandably, I was shocked to
see all the astrodome vendors congregate before Go. I later realized why. He was gifting
those basketball patrons near where he was seated with all kinds of items sold by the
vendors like hotdog sandwiches, checheria of all kinds such as potato chips, soft drinks and
bottled water, among others.

What made the scene so discomforting to me is the fact that Go was seated in a
section where the price of the ticket is about a P1,000 each. This means those that were
seated near him can afford but inexplicably all of them scrambled to get a piece of what Go
was wantonly giving them through the venue vendors.

Let us be clear that such act is prohibited under existing election laws for it is
considered a form of vote buying.

Has vote buying become so normal already that even decent citizens are no longer
appalled by it when perpetrated right before them such as what senatorial candidate Go did?
Have we all lost all our moral mooring not to see such act as brazen violation of the election
laws?

What I saw made me wonder if this is being done every time Go appears during PBA
games, which he has consistently done lately since the campaign started in February. If
what I saw has become a regular fare every PBA game personally watched by Go, then it is
blatant and brazen disrespect for the law by someone who seeks the people’s mandate to
become a lawmaker himself.

What kind of lawmaker will he be given his penchant to make a mockery out of our
election laws, I asked myself.

And what kind of electorate we have become that even those who can afford to pay a
P1,000 ticket in a PBA game would still scramble for the pittance largesse that a candidate is
distributing freely?

That incident only strengthened my resolve to personally not vote for any of the
administration candidates and campaign against their election as well.

Remember that Go in his last statement of assets, liabilities and net worth declared a
net worth of only P12 million. But according to reports made by entities that monitored tv ad
spending by the candidates, Go was reported to have spent more than half a billion pesos
already in tv ads about a month after the campaign officially commenced.

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