‘Don’t exploit giving of aid during polls’-A A +A
Friday, October 25, 2013
THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) warned barangay election candidates not to take advantage of relief operations for earthquake victims in Cebu and Bohol.
Comelec-Central Visayas Regional Director Temie Lambino said that giving money, food and services can be considered as an attempt to influence voters.
While the barangay election in Bohol has been postponed, Lambino said candidates should not use relief distribution activities to obtain votes.
For earthquake-affected areas in Cebu, the barangay elections will push through on Monday. Lambino said Comelec has not yet received requests to establish makeshift polling centers in places with damaged public schools.
Lambino said candidates might use the relief distribution to campaign.
Giving donations or gifts in cash and in kind are not allowed during the election period as provided by the Omnibus Election Code.
So that they would not be cited for violating the law, Lambino advised candidates to let their representatives or barangay officials who are not seeking elective posts to facilitate the distribution of relief goods.
He said bags with relief goods bearing the name of a candidate is not allowed.
A person found to have committed an election offense may face imprisonment from one year to six years and perpetual disqualification to hold public office.
In a related development, Lambino assured that there will be no shortage of classrooms that will be used as polling centers on Monday, although some schools have been damaged by the earthquake.
He said he did not receive any request from Cebu election officersfor makeshift polling centers.
Makeshift polling centers can be used in areas where schools have been damaged by the earthquake.
The Cebu Province reported to Lambino that 549 classrooms have been seriously damaged by the the 7.2-magnitude earthquake last Oct. 15.
But Lambino said there are 1,122 schools in Cebu Province so there should be enough classrooms that can be used as voting centers.
He assured that Comelec is 100 percent ready for the barangay election this Monday.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 25, 2013.