Erap did not vote for Binay as Vice President?

James Ryan Jonas

Media channels and blogs are currently abuzz with the latest “Erap election scandal.”
Pictures and videos of former Pres. Joseph Estrada while voting during election day are circulating showing that Erap did not vote for his running mate (and now Vice President front runner) Jejomar Binay.
Video: Erap did not vote for Jejomar Binay as VP?
The controversial scene starts at 0:55. At 1:17, Erap’s ballot was again zoomed in and one can see that the Vice President position was not filled up.
In an Inquirer interview, Estrada admitted he “inadvertently skipped Binay’s name on the ballot but claimed he eventually corrected the supposed oversight.” He did not explain how he supposedly corrected it. Estrada further claimed he even forgot to vote for his own son, JV Ejercito, who is running as San Juan representative.
This “Erap election scandal” may be highly controversial, but a more important issue to address is why is someone taking a video of Erap’s ballot and tracking who he is voting for?
Estrada may be at fault for not using the Ballot Secrecy folder, but still, he deserves privacy especially at a time like this.
A lawyer-friend of mine commented that those who took pictures and videos of Erap voting may be guilty of an election offense. According to Batas Pambansa (BP) 881 or the Omnibus Election Code:
Article XXII
Election Offenses
Section 261. Prohibited Acts. – The following shall be guilty of an election offense:
(z) On voting:
(5) Any person who avails himself of any means of scheme to discover the contents of the ballot of a voter who is preparing or casting his vote or who has just voted. (emphasis added)

Section 264. Penalties. – Any person found guilty of any election offense under this Code shall be punished with imprisonment of not less than one year but not more than six years and shall not be subject to probation. In addition, the guilty party shall be sentenced to suffer disqualification to hold public office and deprivation of the right of suffrage.
Let’s see if those who took pictures and videos will be identified and penalized.

James Ryan Jonas teaches business management, investments, and entrepreneurship at the University of the Philippines (UP). He is also the Executive Director of UP Provident Fund Inc., managing and investing P3.2 Billion ($56.4 Million) worth of retirement funds on behalf of thousands of UP employees.