Polls in Bohol remain hanging-A A +A
Friday, October 18, 2013
CANDIDATES for the forthcoming barangay elections in Bohol are being advised to continue with their campaign activities as the Commission on Elections (Comelec) remains undecided on whether to postpone the conduct of polls there or not.
In an interview, Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes said that, as of the moment, there is no decision yet on the fate of the October 28 elections in the earthquake ravaged province.
"As of the moment, candidates should just continue campaigning since the elections there is still not postponed," said Brillantes.
He even quipped that it is even easier for aspiring barangay officials to campaign since voters are mostly confined in evacuation centers.
"Just simply go to evacuation centers and shake their hands. But don't give out relief goods because it is prohibited. Just leave it to the Philippine Red Cross," said Brillantes.
Earlier, the poll body had hinted the possibility of postponing elections in the Bohol and other areas hit by the magnitude-7.2 earthquake last Tuesday.
According to the Comelec head, their regional election director (RED) in Central Visayas had given a recommendation that the barangay polls there may push through.
"But when we reviewed all the reports we got (aside from our regional director), we found many issues that were unclear. So the decision is not to resolve yet on whether we will hold the elections on October 28 or not," said Brillantes.
Instead, Brillantes said he will personally make an ocular inspection of the province either Saturday (October 19) or Sunday (October 20) to personally assess if the barangay polls can be conducted.
He said the procedure is similar to the one they used before they decided to postpone the polls in Zamboanga City after sending Commissioner Christian Lim.
"Our concern is on the cost of their recommendation to have makeshift precincts. Do we have available areas? How much will it cost us? Those details were not in the recommendation. They just said the elections can be conducted," said Brillantes.
The official also noted that Bohol Governor Edgar Chatto has a separate request to have the elections postponed in the province.
"He is requesting it but the reasons are not clear. It does not cite specific reasons. I'll probably go and talk to the governor," said Brillantes.
He said the commission en banc will hold a meeting on Monday morning to finally decide on the matter after considering all concerns and reports.
"I will make the final assessment then report to the en banc then we decide on Monday… It may be the whole province or it may also just be several areas," said Brillantes.
As for other quake-hit areas such as Cebu, the poll chief said the elections will be pushing through.
"There is no problem with Cebu. We are only talking of Bohol here. So far, the whole elections will push through except in Zamboanga City. Bohol is still hanging," said Brillantes.
Earlier, the Comelec had decided to postpone the elections in Zamboanga City after it was torn down by the siege of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) of several barangays. (HDT/Sunnex)