The 2023 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) in Negros Oriental will proceed on October 30, despite the appeals for its postponement due to the reported political violence in the province.
Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairperson George Garcia, however, said Monday that the entire province will be placed under the control of the poll body and necessary guidelines on how this will be implemented will be released soon.
“The Comelec decided to push through with this because based on the papers, documents, and evidence we gathered from the place where the Comelec held a three-day hearing, we found out that people overwhelmingly want the election to continue on October 30,” Garcia said.
Garcia said both the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) wanted the same.
Meanwhile, police arrested another teenager in south Metro Manila for violating the election gun ban.
On Sunday, 18-year-old Ronilo Reyes was apprehended by Pasay City – Malibay Police Substation for Alarm and Scandal, and violation of Republic Act 10591 (Possession of a Gun Replica) in relation to RA 7166 (Omnibus Election Code).
The suspect was found shouting and brandishing a gun replica that caused a disturbance along Apelo Cruz Street in Barangay 157 Zone 16 around 2 p.m.
Responding policemen found the suspect holding a gas blowback-type gun replica resembling a silver .9mm Beretta pistol equipped with a magazine containing 15 pellets.
Pamplona Mayor Janice Degamo and eight other mayors from Negros Oriental earlier appealed to the Comelec to postpone the BSKE in the province, citing peace and order concerns.
During a Senate inquiry into the killing of Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo, several senators also asked the poll body to consider the possibility of holding off the elections amid the political violence in the province.
The Comelec then announced that public hearings will be conducted in Negros Oriental to assess its current situation, particularly its peace and order status, to determine whether the BSKE should be postponed in the province.
Negros Oriental Roel Degamo and five others were killed when armed men fired shots while the official was distributing aid at his residence in Pamplona, Negros Oriental on March 4.