26 villages holding polls Wednesday-A A +A
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
TWENTY-SIX out of the 97 barangays that failed to conduct the barangay elections on Monday are already scheduled to hold it two days later, according to the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
In a press briefing, Comelec Deputy Executive Director for Operations Bartolome Sinocruz reported that they have already scheduled the holding of elections on Wednesday, October 30, in 26 barangays.
These include the seven in Calayan Island, Cagayan; one in Balo-I, Lanao del Norte; six in Akbar, Ungkaya Pukan, and Tabuan Lasa in Basilan; and 12 in Buldon, Liong, and Parang in Maguindanao.
Delayed elections in three barangays in Jiabong, Sta. Margarita, and Gandara in Samar province were ongoing Tuesday as of press time.
By Thursday, the remaining five barangays in Calayan Island, Cagayan will hold their own barangay polls, said Sinocruz.
Also, Sinocruz said they are looking to hold the elections in the 12 barangays in Pikit, North Cotabato on November 8.
It can be recalled that the elections in Pikit, North Cotabato failed to push through due to the refusal of the Board of Election Tellers (BETs) to conduct the voting in the designated voting center due to security reasons.
Poll officials also said they are still awaiting word from Comelec Commissioner Al Parreno regarding the actual status of the conduct of polls in the 51 barangays in Lanao del Sur, where BETs also refused to serve for security concerns.
These areas are aside from the postponement of elections in Bohol and in Zamboanga City to November 25 as previously announced by the Comelec.
In quake-hit Bohol, where elections were also postponed to November 25, there are a total of 1,109 barangays with 799,089 registered voters assigned to 2,599 clustered precincts spread in 1,066 voting centers.
Finally, in strife-torn Zamboanga City, wherein elections have been reset to November 25 also, there are 98 barangays with 412,661 registered voters scattered in 1,183 clustered precincts in 117 voting centers.
But while elections in those areas failed to take place on schedule, the Comelec reported that 30,790 or 73.26 percent of the 42,028 barangays in the country have already held proclamation of winning barangay chairmen and barangay councilmen.
Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes said that this proves that the poll body can deliver on what it promised.
"We promised that this will be fast moving proclamation… right now, we are barely 24 hours since closing of voting and we already reach almost 75 percent," said Brillantes in a press conference.
He said they expect to finish all the other areas, excluding those that had their elections postponed or suspended to make their respective proclamation in the next 24 hours.
"We expect to finish this all by another day, except in those areas where voting is ongoing or there have been resetting of elections," said Brillantes.
Meanwhile, Brillantes dismissed the allegations that vote buying in this year's barangay polls is more rampant compared to the previous, saying that it is just a smear campaign of the losing candidates.
"Vote buying is a very sensitive acts which we should need evidence. Hindi pwede yung kwento-kwento lang. Maraming vote buying na sinasabi kasi yung natatalo sinasabi nilana nag-vote buying yung kalaban nila na nanalo. Sa dami ng kandidato, lumalabas na dumadami ang nagbo-vote buying," he said.
He even blamed the members of the media due to several unverified stories they have reporting to the public despite not having concrete evidence.
"Part of problem in this vote-buying [allegations] eh kayo rin sa media. Lahat ng naririnig niyong may vote buying, sinasabi niyo may vote buying, but where is the evidence? It is very important that we have the evidence. Dapat may file, may litrato, may evidence," Brillantes stressed.
Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II, for his part, said that they also received several complaints of vote buying but authorities are still investigating them due to lack of material evidence.
"In the absence of complainants and witnesses against vote buying, it just makes our job much more difficult dahil saan mo hahanapin ito. Sinong isu-surveillance mo. Saan mangyayari ito. So it makes our job that much harder dahil may bill of rights tayo. may presumption of innocence. Ang pinakamabisa talaga ay merong magtestigo," Rojas explained.
Roxas meanwhile expressed dismay over the string of violence that happened since the start of the election period.
The Cabinet official apologized on behalf of the government to the family of those who were killed and other victims of politically motivated violence, particularly those reported during the campaign period.
"Nakikiramay po kami sa pamilya ng namatay dahil sa walang saysay na karahasan na nangyari nitong nakaraang halalan na ito. Sisiruguraduhin natin na mananagot kung sino man ang nasa likod ng karahasan na ito, pagpatay o pagsakit sa ating mga kababayaan," Roxas said.
Roxas have tasked the Philippine National Police (PNP) to speed up the investigation of the reported violence during the election period and immediately arrest all those behind the election related violent incidents.
"As a government official how do I feel about the violence? Pinakamaliit na unit ganun katindi – Nakakadismaya, nakakalungkot. It makes me wonder kung ano ba nasa isip ng mga kandidatong ito. Ano bang dahilan kung bakit tumayo ito bilang kandidato na yung halos buong pagkatao nila ay nilagay na nila sa posisyon nila," Roxas said.
He said that despite the several incidents, the said election related violence didn't withstand with the overall voting process, which he called a successful one.
Deputy Director General Felipe Rojas, head of the National Task Group for Safe-2013 Alpha said that as of 7 a.m. of Tuesday, 644 were been arrested in the ongoing Comelec gun ban.
Rojas said that among those arrested were 598 civilians, eight policemen, nine from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) including three CAFGUs, 22 security guards, and seven others from the government.
The statistics also showed that 5,529 firearms, ammunition and other weapons/explosives were seized.
A total of 24 incidents have been recorded during election day, in which nine were killed.
Data also show that 264 were arrested during the implementation of the 24-hour nationwide liquor ban that ended 12:01 a.m. of Tuesday, October 29.
The arrested liquor ban violators will face possible imprisonment up to six years for violation of the Omnibus Election Code.
Roxas said the PNP will remain on full alert status even if the election period is over. The Comelec gun ban ends November 12. (HDT/John Carlo Cahinhinan/Sunnex)