'All systems go' for barangay, SK elections 2018
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines on Monday, May 14, is set to hold its first village and youth council elections in years, after several moves to postpone these for various reasons.
"All systems go. We are not moving slowly right now. In fact we're moving forward very steadily," Jimenez said in a press conference on Sunday, May 13.
The barangay (village) elections on Monday will be the first in 5 years, while the simultaneous Sangguniang Kabataan or SK (Youth Council) elections will be the first in 8 years. This is after several laws were passed to postpone these elections before.
Jimenez also said there were "a little over 20" confirmed reports of election-related violent incidents, a day ahead of the scheduled barangay and SK elections.
He said that while Comelec has received reports of election-related violence, he could not name the persons involved as authorities investigate their cases.
Despite this, Jimenez said that the overall peace situation was favorable.
Asked what would happen to candidates who might be victims of election-related violence, Jimenez said the deceased candidate's spouse can substitute for the post.
"'Yun lang ang pwedeng mag-substitute sa isang kandidato," he said. (They are the only ones who can substitute for a candidate)
Jimenez also sought to address voters' concerns, particularly reports on supposed schemes to invalidate ballots, illegally placed campaign materials, and concerns over the early distribution of voting materials.
According to Jimenez, voters reported of being told that voting for less than 7 candidates would result in having their ballots invalidated. However, he said this was false and that voters could vote for as much as 7 candidates or less.
"'Yang mga ganyang klaseng misinformation, ginagamit 'yan, kinakalat 'yan sa mga barangay para mapuwersa ang mga tao bumoto sa mga tao na ayaw naman iboto talaga. It creates an atmosphere of fear, parang panakot na masasayang 'yung mga boto nila kung hindi nila iboto itong mga tao na ito," Jimenez said.
(Those kinds of misinformation are used and spread in barangays to force people to vote for candidates they would otherwise not vote for. It creates an atmosphere of fear that your vote will be wasted if they do not vote for these people.)
On concerns over the early distribution of voting materials, Jimenez explained this was done to ensure elections would push through as scheduled.
He also advised voters to check if materials were brought to voting locations by Comelec officials, the Philippine National Police, and other witnesses. Jimenez said that if this was observed, "there is authority and it is legal." – Rappler.com