AN election official said the public should know candidates running in the barangay and youth elections in May and whether or not some are involved in the illegal drug trade.

Commission on Elections (Comelec) 7 Director Rafael Olaño, in a press conference, saw nothing wrong in a plan to release the names of village officials suspected of having links to drug trafficking.

“Hindi naman seguro pag-campaign against them kasi (I don’t think that’s campaigning against them, because) the people should know whom they should vote for and whether they are deserving to serve,” he said.

Chief Supt. Rolando Felix of the Directorate of Integrated Police Operations-Visayas said the investigators are gathering evidence.

Olaño attended the first meeting with police and military officials in Camp Lapu-Lapu, the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Central Command (CentCom) headquarters.

He joined Felix and Lt. Gen. Paul Atal, CentCom chief, in discussing security measures for the elections on May 14. Police Regional Office 7 Director Robert Quenery was also present.

Olaño said he is not expecting violence, although personal conflict between candidates may cause some trouble.

For his part, Atal said the military is reviewing the history of some barangays where election-related violence happened.

Teachers’ summer duties

As part of preparations, more than 24,000 public school teachers from Cebu Province will undergo training so they can serve in the barangay and Sanggunian Kabataan (SK) elections.

But a teachers’ rights group asked the Comelec and Department of Education (DepEd) to provide ample protection for teachers who will be serving in the elections, the first for the barangays and youth since October 2013.

Lawyer Ferdinand Gujilde, Cebu Provincial election officer, said that the 24,450 public school teachers will be trained by Comelec to serve as members of the Electoral Board, formerly known as the Board of Election Tellers (BET).

Teachers will undergo training from May 4 to 11 in preparation for their deployment in the May 14 elections.

On the other hand, the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Cebu chapter urged Comelec and Deped to protect the teachers.

Antonia Lim of ACT Cebu told SunStar Cebu that both agencies should provide insurance for public school teachers who are involved, in case of election-related incidents.

She also urged both agencies to provide legal assistance for teachers who are sued in relation to their service during the barangay and SK polls.

Lim said that Comelec must also respect Republic Act 10756 or the Election Service Reform Act, which prohibits compulsory service for public school teachers during elections.

She added that even with the enforcement of RA 10756, some school heads have not implemented the law.

Around 24,450 public school teachers will be deployed in the 8,150 clustered precincts in Cebu Province.

In each clustered precinct, three public school teachers will serve as members of the Electoral Board.