Senators not keen on Comelec 'cash ban'

Posted at 05/08/2013 4:15 PM

MANILA - Two senators allied with the Liberal Party of President Aquino do not agree with the Commission on Elections' (Comelec) move to block withdrawals exceeding P100,000 ahead of the May 13 polls.

Sen. Ralph Recto, who heads the Senate ways and means and government corporations and public enterprises committees, said the Comelec "cash ban" might be considered unconstitutional since it interferes with the flow of private money.

"It will have an adverse impact on business and will not stop or minimize vote-buying. It will only make it difficult for everyone transacting with banks and others when most are not involved in political activity," Recto said in a press statement.

"It's a novel approach but impractical in the real world," he added.

Similarly, Sen. Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan said Comelec would be better off running after vote-buyers instead of pushing for the cash ban, which would be difficult to implement.

"We have received reports in various parts of the country that vote-buying is now taking place. If only the Comelec disqualified candidates linked to vote-buying early on, then politicians would think twice before attempting to buy votes. Ensuring the sanctity of the ballot is most basic and most fundamental in safeguarding our democracy," he said.

Recto said the cash ban would be difficult to implement since banks and depositors may not be able to read or understand it.

The senator noted the money ban assumes that persons withdrawing more than P100,000 from banks before the May 13 elections are out to buy or rig votes.

"Why are we penalizing innocent bystanders or depositors who just want to transact their usual business unhampered and without government intervention?" he said.

Aside from limiting cash withdrawals to only P100,000, the Comelec resolution also banned the "possession, transportation and/or carrying of cash" worth more than P500,000.