Comelec came unprepared for the barangay polls
If there were problems or delays in the holding of Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan in more than 2,000 villages all over the country last Monday, those covering the Commission on Elections beat said this could be blamed solely to the officials of the poll body.
My sources from the Comelec said the recent polls was in disarray because the poll body did not create a steering committee nor assigned a particular commissioner to manage and oversee the October 25 barangay and SK elections.
They said Comelec chairman Jose Melo’s alleged inaction could have contributed a lot in the mess as this also resulted in the inaction of his subordinates to properly run and manage the holding of the polls.
“Most likely, chairman Melo underestimated the holding of said political exercise because it only concerns barangay and SK officials,” one Comelec observer said.
It was earlier reported that more than 1,700 barangays in different parts of the country failed to conduct the elections because of the delay or failure of the Comelec in delivering ballots and ballot boxes.
But last Tuesday, Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo said more than 2,400 villages actually failed to hold the grassroots level elections and would need some time for them to hold one.
Robredo has to go to Mindanao and other parts of the country to help assuage violence and fears among the candidates whose areas where there is total failure of elections.
The other poll problem attributed to Comelec was its failure to act on the information provided them by the DILG about the identities and exact number of three-termer barangay officials who are no longer qualified to run for re-election.
I was informed that there were several cases of three-termer barangay captains and kagawads who filed their certificates of candidacies and approved by the Comelec despite prohibitions under the law that they are no longer qualified to run.
What if these three-termer barangay officials won and were proclaimed by Comelec as winners in last Monday’s elections?
Will the Comelec just say sorry to these “unqualified” winners who spent money, time and effort before, during and after the campaign period?
From what I understand from Secretary Robredo’s pronouncements, it is not legal for the Comelec to designate the number one kagawad winner (out of seven winners) to replace the winning barangay chairman who would later be found out to be not qualified to run being a three-termer local official.
With this situation, will the Comelec allow the holding of a special barangay election after they found out and decided to nullify the proclamation of a winning three-termer barangay official?
Of course, all of those who won in the recent polls, three-termers or not, will likely seek a court or Comelec reprieve to be able to stick to their posts. And this would entail months or years before they are settled by the Comelec.
The Comelec has yet to settle numerous election protests from the May 2010 presidential elections and it is expected that their office would soon be flooded with yet another election protests for their failure to properly monitor and supervise the village polls.
The barangay elections has become hotly-contested in many parts of the country not because of pride and dignity but also of the presence of Internal Revenue Allotments provided in each village by the national government.
This could be the main reason why many incumbent barangay officials, even if they are already three-termers, want to get re-elected and stay on their posts. The fight and intrigues, including graft and corruption in the barangays would go on because of the IRA funds.
For feedback and comments, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Romie A.. Evangelista