Comelec reminds barangay poll aspirants to follow laws

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/19 October)– The Commission on Elections (Comelec) here has reminded candidates in the October 28 barangay elections to abide with various election rules as the nine-day campaign period officially started on Friday.

Lawyer Jose Villanueva, city election officer, said candidates should refrain from violating any of the election laws and regulations to avoid facing possible sanctions or penalties as well as charges later on for election offenses.

He specifically cited the provisions of Batas Pambansa 881 or the Omnibus Election Code and Republic Act 9006 or the Fair Elections Act.

“Election offenses constitute severe penalties like disqualification from holding office even if they win in the elections so it’s important for them to follow the rules,” Villanueva said.

The official said “they will be strictly monitoring campaign activities of local candidates, especially on their spending.”

He reiterated that each barangay candidate is only allowed a maximum expense of P5 per registered voter.
Villanueva warned candidates and voters against engaging in activities that would lead to vote buying and vote selling.

“These are very serious election offenses and we welcome any verified complaint from our residents regarding this [matter],” he said.

As part of their voter’s education activities, he said they will be holding “pulong-pulong” or meetings in all 26 barangays of the city during the campaign period.

During the meetings, Villanueva said they will orient the candidates on regulations related with the conduct of the barangay elections and also introduce them to the voting public.

The meetings will be joined by officials and personnel from the City Treasurer’s Office, city police office and the Philippine Army-led Joint Task Force GenSan, he said.

For the barangay elections, the Comelec has assigned 704 clustered polling precincts for the city’s 1,753 established precincts.

It will open 55 polling centers for the city’s 239,319 registered voters.

Records from the city Comelec office showed that a total of 79 residents have filed their certificates of candidacy for barangay chair and 793 for council members. (MindaNews)