The Commission on Elections En Banc has resolved to set the Barangay Elections in the quake-hit Province of Bohol to November 25, 2013.
In COMELEC Resolution No. 9804, promulgated October 24, 2013, the poll body noted that while it is “ready to conduct the Barangay Elections as scheduled, the effect of the earthquake that hit Bohol is of such nature that the holding of a free and orderly Barangay Elections has become impossible, and that a month-long postponement of the polls in Bohol would be most appropriate and practical…”
Among the reasons the COMELEC considered in its decision to postpone the polls was to give the local government units (LGUs) concerned enough time to thoroughly inspect the structural integrity of the school buildings in the Province, the effect and/or prejudice in the ongoing relief and rehabilitation efforts, the geological condition in Bohol and the need to afford the people in Bohol ample time to rebuild their homes and normalize their lives.
But while the COMELEC concedes the “overriding importance of the ongoing relief and rehabilitation,” the poll body takes cognizance of the reports that some candidates are taking advantage of the ongoing relief operations to pursue their candidacies. “Therefore, a clear policy should be adopted to secure that such operations remains non-partisan and fair,” it said.
Candidates, Barangay Officials keep out of Bohol relief ops
The COMELEC ruled that all releases in relation to the relief and rehabilitation efforts shall be turned-over to, administered and disbursed by the Philippine National Red Cross through the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) including the respective Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (LDRRMC).
No relief or other goods for distribution shall be released to any candidate for the Barangay Elections, any incumbent Barangay Officials including their family members, the COMELEC added.
Any such participation shall be treated as an election offense of vote buying.
COMELEC Officials and employees in Bohol are mandated to monitor compliance to the COMELEC Resolution. The Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) is likewise called upon to assist the COMELEC in the monitoring.
The new Election Period in the Province of Bohol is set from October 26, 2013 to December 10, 2013. The COMELEC also added two more days in the Period of Filing of Certificates of Candidacy (COC) in the Province, on October 28 and 29, 2013.
All filers who filed their COCs on October 11, 12, 14, 15, 16 and 17, 2013 shall be considered as “candidates” as defined by the Omnibus Election Code for the purpose of applying the prohibitions defined therein. ###