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Huge number of COCs filed for BSKE elections

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THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) viewed as a “blockbuster” Tuesday’s filing of certificates of candidacy (COC) for the said the beginning of the election period for the Oct. 30 barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections (BSKE) which the police described as “generally peaceful and orderly despite four violent incidents in Albay, Rizal, and Magjuindanao provinces.

The Comelec said however, it is awaiting the results of the security assessment by the Philippine National Police (PNP) before coming up with a list of “areas of concern” or election hotspots.

Meanwhile, the Quezon City government braces for a huge volume of BSKE candidates from 142 villages on today and tomorrow.

“We were so overwhelmed,” Comelec chairman George Garcia commented on Tuesday’s unfolding of events.

Comelec data showed that a total of 273,454 aspirants filed their COCs for the 672,000 village posts in 42,000 barangays nationwide up for grabs in the BSKE.  .

Of this number, 21,657 filed for the position of barangay chairman, while 143,638 were seeking sangguniang barangay memberships.

Some 17,085 others filed candidacies for SK chairmanship, while 91,074 others were gunning for a post in the SK council.

Four incidents of election-related violence have been recorded so far, including the slaying of Alex Repanto, chairman of Barangay San Jose in Libon, Albay. Other incidents were recorded in Rizal and Maguindanao, Garcia said.

In Metro Manila, police confiscated six firearms and 17 deadly weapons mostly in checkpoints as the election gun ban took effect.

Ten persons were arrested for various offenses in connection with the election period, the police reported.

The PNP also said four incidents of election-related violence took place; two in Libon town in Albay, one in Rizal province, and one in Maguindanao.

Garcia said declaration of election hotspots defends on the PNP recommendation, categorized as green, yellow, orange and red.

Green refers to areas that do not have security concerns and are generally peaceful and orderly, while yellow refers to communities with a history of election-related incidents in the last elections, possible employment of partisan armed groups, the occurrence of politically motivated election-related incidents and had been previously declared under Comelec control.

Orange means areas of immediate concern where there is a serious armed threat; while red means areas of grave concern, which exhibit combined factors under the yellow category with serious armed threats that may warrant the declaration of Comelec control.

“Expect that after the investigation and assessment of the PNP and AFP, our regional directors will release recommendations to put the said areas in a high category of an area of concern,” Comelec spokesman John Rex Laudiangco said.

The most recent incident happened in Libon where the victim Alex Repato, reelectionist captain of Barangay San Jose, was shot dead by still unidentified assailants in his residence at around 5 p.m. Monday, just hours after he filed his candidacy.

The incident occurred just a few days after Reliosa Mata, a councilor of Barangay Nagpo in Libon, and her husband Alfredo were killed as they returned home after attending a wake on the night of Aug. 22.

The Comelec has yet to receive the complete reports on the two other incidents.

As of 6 p.m. Monday, law enforcement conducted 55 checkpoints in areas in Metro Manila as the start of the gun ban for the BSKE coincided with the first day of the COC filing period.

“In general, the filing of COC was peaceful and orderly,” PNP spokesperson Col. Jean Fajardo said at a televised public briefing by PTV4.

.Fajardo said the Libon incident happened in front of the house of a barangay captain who was shot dead after filing his certificate of candidacy on their local Comelec office.

Fajardo added that the other reports on alleged election-related incidents have yet to be verified if they were connected to the BSKE.

“Checkpoints have been installed in different areas of the country, with members of the PNP together with the AFP to monitor and inspect, and to strictly implement the gun ban”, PNP chief Gen. Benjamin Acorda Jr. said.

Under Resolution 10918, the Comelec prohibits the bearing, carrying, or transporting firearms and other deadly weapons outside residence or place of business, and in all public places; employing, availing, or engaging the services of security personnel and bodyguards; and transporting or delivering firearms and explosives, including its parts, ammunition, and/ or components.

Exempted from the three-month gun ban were personnel from the PNP, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and other members of law enforcement agencies.

Quezon City treasurer Edgar Villanueva said in an interview that the filing of COCs on the first day and second day was very much peaceful and organized with the help of the election officers of the city’s six districts.”

“According to the Comelec, a big volume of candidates is expected to file on the two   last days of filing on Sept. 1 and 2,” he said.

“We are very much prepared for such eventuality,” he added.


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