245 bets face suspension of proclamation
MANILA, Philippines — Two hundred forty-five candidates in the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections (BSKE) tomorrow are the subjects of orders of suspension of proclamation, according to the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
Latest data released by the Comelec yesterday showed that five candidates engaged in vote-buying; 173 in premature campaigning and 37 cases were referred for possible administrative cancellation.
Meanwhile, 30 cases have motions for reconsideration, where 21 are facing disqualification cases, five are nuisance candidates and four have denial of due course or cancellation of certificates of candidacy.
“Those who committed violations, they are facing disqualification cases as well as suspension of proclamation even if they win in the elections,” Comelec Chairman George Garcia said in an interview yesterday.
The Comelec earlier released guidelines on how the Barangay Board of Canvassers will suspend the proclamation of the winning candidates with order of suspension from the poll body, according to Garcia.
“For the suspension order to be effective, we released guidelines,” he said.
The Comelec approved last Tuesday the suspension of the proclamation of candidates with pending disqualification charges who will win in the BSKE tomorrow.
“Please be informed that during the referendum consultation today, the commission resolved to approve the suspension of proclamation of named respondents with pending petitions to deny due course or to cancel their certificates of candidacy, to declare a nuisance candidate and for disqualification until further orders from the commission,” Comelec Memorandum 231111 read.
In an excerpt attached to the memorandum, the Comelec en banc reiterated its authority to suspend the proclamation under Section 600 of Comelec Resolution 10924.
Section 600 stipulates the Comelec division or en banc’s authority to suspend the proclamation of a winning candidate if an unresolved petition has strong evidence.
In Bulacan, a 52-year-old businessman who is running for barangay kagawad (councilor) was arrested yesterday afternoon for alleged vote-buying activity.
Reports reaching Brig. Gen. Jose Hidalgo Jr., regional police director for Central Luzon, said the suspect was apprehended in Barangay Bagong Barrio, Pandi, Bulacan and seized from his possession was cash amounting to P35,840 in various denominations, Department of Social Welfare and Development General Intake Sheets and sample ballots.
The suspect was placed under the custody of Pandi Police Station for proper disposition and filing of appropriate charges.
Majority of BSKE candidates have complied with the election rules, according to Interior and Local Government Secretary Benhur Abalos.
“Based on our inspection, there were few violations. I congratulate the Comelec and the local government of Manila Mayor Honey Lacuña for the successful campaign here as the candidates complied (with the regulations),” Abalos said after he joined Garcia in removing illegally placed and oversized campaign materials, particularly those hanging from electric posts or wires, in Barangay 128, Tondo, Manila.
Under the rules of the poll body, all BSKE bets are required to place their campaign materials, especially tarpaulins, in common poster areas.
At the same time, Abalos reiterated his call for BSKE candidates to observe and abide by all election laws, rules and regulations to ensure the successful and orderly conduct of the BSKE.
“Let us maintain the integrity of the election and give the voters the respect that they deserve,” he added.
Abalos added that candidates who hold bingo games, distribute prizes, conduct hakot system or mass transporting of voters before or during election day and handing out cash are telltale signs of being engaged in vote-buying.
Garcia said that of the 1.4 million candidates nationwide, only a small percentage or around 2,000 have been issued show cause orders so far for illegal campaigning or using illegal campaign materials.
In other BSKE developments, over 1,000 emergency medical services (EMS) personnel and volunteers of the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) will ensure the safety and well-being of voters in tomorrow’s electoral exercise.
The deployment is contained in an agreement signed on Friday by officials of the humanitarian organization, led by its secretary general Gwendolyn Pang, Garcia and officials from the Department of Health (DOH).
Under the agreement, the PRC will field its EMS personnel and volunteers who will operate first-aid stations, mobile units and ambulance units within the premises of polling precincts tomorrow.
“Every large gathering must provide for standby emergency medical services personnel and ambulances,” PRC chairman Richard Gordon said in a statement.
Gordon added that it would be better to have the provisions on standby in the event of emergencies.
“We would rather have these provisions and not need them, rather than need them and not have them,” he said.
During last year’s elections, the PRC served 8,000 patients nationwide.
Meanwhile, the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP), the country’s power transmission operator, has expressed its readiness for tomorrow’s BSKE.
The NGCP assured the public that it is all set in its preparations to secure power transmission operations and facilities during the polls.
The company said it continues to conduct vegetation clearing operations along identified critical transmission lines across the country to minimize the occurrence of grid disturbances caused by obstructions along the power lines. — Emmanuel Tupas, Bella Cariaso, Richmond Mercurio, Marc Jayson Cayabyab, Sheila Crisostomo