Comelec ready to hold village polls

THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) 8 said it is prepared to conduct the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections on October.

Lawyer Veronico Petalcorin, in-charge of Comelec-8, said they have no choice but to prepare for the elections on October as it is mandated by law.

The last barangay and SK elections were held in October 2010, five months after the midterm elections. Based on the Comelec calendar, the next barangay elections is on October this year.

“The law mandates that barangay and SK elections will be conducted every three years. Until a law has been passed moving the election to a later date, we are prepared to hold it later this year,” Petalcorin said.

President Benigno Aquino III said Tuesday that the Philippines should proceed with the scheduled barangay elections this October instead of postponing it, as suggested by the Comelec.

Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. earlier said he would prefer that barangay elections be held next year or early 2015 to give them time to deal with more urgent issues, including the expected electoral protests by losing candidates in the recently concluded polls.

Petalcorin said it’s up to legislature and the president, because all acts will be decided by the president.

“There have been pending bills in Congress seeking to delay the elections scheduled later this year,” Petalcorin added.

Petalcorin said if the barangay elections would push through, it will have to adopt a manual system of voting and counting in October.

In manual system, the Board of Election Inspectors will be counting the votes manually by using the traditional tally sheets.

“Comelec may have a budget for the barangay elections but it would be insufficient if we will adopt an automated system,” Petalcorin said.

“Comelec funds would not suffice to cover automated elections because it would require to use thousands of automated machines for the country’s 40,000 barangays,” Petalcorin added.

In Eastern Visayas, there are about 4,390 barangays.

He said unlike in the national elections, there is no need to transmit results of the elections, which is one of the main functions of the automated machines. (Leyte Samar Daily Express)
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