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1.14-million people vying for seats in May 14 polls

MORE than a million people have filed their certificates of candidacy in the May 14 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections, a Commission on Elections official said Monday.

Comelec spokesman James Arthur Jimenez said as of 5 p.m. on April 21, the total number of people who had filed their certificates was 1,140,987 in 1,625 cities and municipalities nationwide. Of that number, 722,081
 had filed for the village polls and 418,906
 for the SK elections.

Jimenez said the latest data accounted for only 1,625 of the 1,633 cities and municipalities nationwide.

“But I don’t suppose the final tally of COCs filed would be much different. It’s important to note that these stats reflect the number of COCs filed and not the official candidates yet,” he said.

Meanwhile, Senator Richard Gordon on Monday called on the voters to be discerning and elect the right leaders for their villages.

He said the barangay and SK officials serve the grassroots, with the barangay being the smallest political unit. Hence the officials must be competent and not involved in illegal drugs and other illegal activities.

“Barangay and SK officials are in the forefront of public service because they are the nearest the people. Our barangays should be run by competent leaders and should not involved in any illegal activities,” Gordon said.

Jimenez said all filed certificates of candidacy will be turned over to the Comelec Central Office for evaluation to determine who are qualified to run. 

Meanwhile, the Interior department is considering asking the Comelec to have a special day of filing of COCs for the SK polls in certain areas.

In an ABS-CBN news report, Interior Assistant Secretary Jonathan Malaya said there may still be some areas with some missing posts to fill.

The Comelec earlier granted extending the period for the filing of COCs for both village and SK polls following a request from the National Youth Commission. The Commission en banc came up with a resolution extending the period until Saturday, April 21.  

“Just in case kinulang for the SK, the DILG will request the Commission on Elections for another day of filing in those areas whre no one filed for SK Kagawad or SK Chairman...A special day of filing,” Malaya said. 

He said if the Comelec denies their request, the DILG would instead ask the local government officials to appoint “local youth and development officers” who would continue the programs originally mandated to the SK officers.

Malaya said these officers would take care of the youth concerns in their respective areas.

The Comelec recently asked President Rodrigo Duterte to declare May 14, 2018 as a non-working holiday in connection with the village and youth council polls.

Jimenez said the Comelec made the request through Resolution 10301 promulgated on April 12 and signed by the members of the Commission en banc composed of acting chairman Al Parreno and commissioners Luie Tito Guia, Ma. Rowena Amelia Guanzon and Sheriff Abas.

The poll official said there was a need to declare the synchronized Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections a special non-working holiday to give registered voters the opportunity to participate fully in the exercise. 

The government scheduled on May 14 the BSKE following its decision to postpone it twice on Oct. 31, 2016 and Oct. 23, 2017. 

The Comelec declared the start of the election period on April 14 with the filing of certificates of candidacy of aspiring candidates and reelectionists.

During the Election Period, the poll body imposed a gun ban and installed police security checkpoints nationwide. It also prohibited the transfer of government officers and employees, including public school teachers.

Topics: certificates of candidacy , Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections , Commission on Elections , James Arthur Jimenez
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