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Bacolod City, Philippines Thursday, April 12, 2018
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Brgy bets warned
vs. party affiliation


Commissioner Rowena Guanzon of the Commission on Elections yesterday warned candidates for barangay posts to be truthful in their certificates of candidacy, especially on their affiliation with political parties, or face the consequences.

She specifically cited No. 10. on the CoC that candidates sign under oath, that states “I am not a member of any political party, group or coalition of political parties.”

“I am cautioning that they have to answer truthfully, because it they don’t there will be consequences,” she said.

Membership of a barangay bet in a political party under Section 51 of the Omnibus Election Code is considered a prohibited act, and shall be prosecuted and penalized in accordance with the provisions of the OEC as a criminal offense, she said.

The barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections should be non partisan, Guanzon stressed.

“I am asking all elected officials, especially the mayors, to keep their hands off the barangay elections because there is a law that it should be a non-partisan election” she said.

To be fair to everyone they should not give, especially the incumbent barangay officials an unfair advantage over others, by supporting them financially, she said.

If the elected officials give money to the barangay and SK bets during the campaign, that would really be a serious violation of the election law, she said.

Guanzon, who spoke at the Provincial and City Treasurers Association of the Philippines conference in Bacolod yesterday, also stressed the importance of the treasurers’ roles in preserving democracy during the elections as guardians of the ballot boxes and ballots before and after the polls.

“They should be faithful to the country first before they are loyal to any politician or elected official,” she said.

Guanzon said one of the innovations she would like to see in the barangay and SK elections that she will bring up before the Comelec en banc is for watchers to be able to take photographs or videos during the counting for transparency.

This is because the votes in the barangay and SK polls are counted manually, and one could win by just one vote, she added.

Aside from giving people confidence in the transparency of the elections it will also help in cases of election protests, she said.

Guanzon said she does not see any problems in the May 14 elections as long as the ballots arrive on time.

The filing of the CoCs for the May 14 polls will start this Saturday until April 20.

The election period also starts Saturday until May 21 during which a gun ban will be in place.

Guanzon reminded the police to follow the plain view rule at checkpoints, where they cannot inspect inside a vehicle or make passengers step out. They can only make an arrest if a gun or deadly weapon is seen in plain view, she added.

The checkpoints should have the number and the name of the election officer on assign board so one can report violations of his or her rights, Guanzon said.

Meanwhile, the Provincial Joint Security Control Center is set to convene at the Negros Occidental Capitol in Bacolod City today to tackle the peace and order situation in the province during the polls, Provincial Election Supervisor Jessie Suarez said.

The PJSCC is led by Suarez with top Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines officials as members.

Negros Occidental Vice Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson said he hopes the barangay and SP polls will be peaceful, and that people will base their decisions on merits and not just personal relationships.*CPG


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