Church official: Raise poll standards

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TUGUEGARAO CITY, Cagayan: A Roman Catholic Church official has described the election climate in the country as “becoming dirtier and on the brink of deterioration” because of rampant vote-buying and vote-selling.

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Fr. Gary Agcaoile, vicar-general of the archdiocese here, also spoke of a dire need to raise the very low standards of elections in the country in a public debate sponsored by a local radio network.

“It is very saddening that elections in the country have become dirtier and on the brink of deterioration despite efforts of some sectors to campaign for free, honest and meaningful elections,” Agcaoile said.

The Catholic priest noted that since the campaign started, reported cases of vote-buying by different political parties have become so rampant.

“It is so depressing that the election standards in the country are deteriorating. Either way, we might get ourselves in such a dirty game like politics,” Agcaoile said.

He urged the electorate to start campaigning against vote-buying in their respective communities to prove to politicians that they cannot be bribed.

Some candidates reportedly bribe voters by giving them envelopes with P200-P500 inside and concealed in campaign paraphernalia of the candidates.

Earlier, religious organizations here organized advocacy groups to campaign against vote-buying and vote-selling.

“We are hopeful that, with our efforts, the public will realize that there will be no buyers of votes if the voters will not sell their votes. Eventually, we hope that we will be able to raise the standards of elections in the country,” Agcaoile said.

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