Editorial: Another political exercise-A A +A
Saturday, September 28, 2013
THE election period officially starts today and will end on Nov. 12, or almost two weeks after the Oct. 28 barangay polls. We are talking only of the barangay elections because it is likely that the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections will be postponed once President Noynoy Aquino signs the measure that Congress passed days ago.
One of the more visible signs of the election period is the gun ban that the Commission on Election (Comelec) will be implementing. Expect mobile checkpoints to appear again nationwide.
The elections will involve 42,028 barangays in the country and 336,224 elective positions for barangay chairman to councilors. These are the posts that candidates who will be filing their certificates of candidacy from Oct. 11 to 17 will fill up.
Since the barangay polls are a microcosm of the elections at the higher levels, would-be candidates are already campaigning even if they have not filed their certificates of candidacy yet. The Comelec has said that the campaign period for the barangay elections will officially start only on Oct. 18 and end on Oct. 26.
Also, the barangay elections are supposed to be non-partisan, which means that candidates should not be supported or influenced by a political party. But we already know that this rule has not been followed, especially in places where the political rivalry at the municipal, city or provincial levels are intense.
In Cebu City, for example, the major political parties are said to be busy “supporting” candidates or “influencing” them even long before the election period has started.
They have reportedly been doing this in many ways, including choosing who to field for the various available posts and providing, or promising if they have not provided, funding support.
Indeed, there are barangays where conflicts have erupted because of complaints against the choice of party candidates.
Expect, therefore, that in almost all barangays in Cebu City, the elections will be between the candidates of rival political parties.
Despite the negative vibes, however, we still expect the holding of the political exercise to be generally successful and hope that it will have a positive impact on the practice of democracy in the country.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 28, 2013.