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MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) Task Force Kontra Epal on Friday, September 29, filed disqualification cases against 35 candidates in the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) due to premature campaigning.
“The Comelec is not joking when it comes to enforcing election laws. As you can see, our warning to file charges against them was not just lip service,” said Comelec spokesperson John Rex Laudiangco in a media briefing.
The complaints against these candidates in Central Luzon, Metro Manila, and Calabarzon will be raffled on Monday, October 2. Laudiangco said the candidates have only five days to respond upon receiving the summons.
Jose Nick Mendros, chief of Comelec Task Force Kontra Epal, said these candidates actively engaged in social media and house-to-house campaigns, while some posted campaign posters.
He said the nature of the petition for disqualification is a summary proceeding, which means that resolution of cases is relatively swift.
The Comelec en banc seeks to resolve these disqualification cases before the BSKE on October 30, Laudiangco said.
Under Section 80 of the election code, a candidate is forbidden from campaigning or engaging in partisan political activity outside of the campaign period. Those who break this rule may face imprisonment of one to six years, loss of voting rights, and permanent disqualification from running for public office.
The campaign period for the BSK elections is from October 19 to 28.
As of September 28, Comelec has issued 3,198 show cause orders for premature campaigning. In the initial assessment, 199 candidates may face disqualification complaints, while 207 complaints were dismissed due to lack of factual basis.
The public may report incidents of premature campaigning through the designated email and social media accounts of the Comelec.
Laudiangco assured the public that they will actively monitor illegal campaigns and instances of vote-buying, even beyond the October 30 deadline for filing complaints related to premature campaigning.
A total of 1,414,487 million people submitted certificates of candidacy (COCs) during the weeklong filing for the 2023 BSKE. The breakdown is as follows:
- 96,962 COCs for barangay chairperson
- 731,682 COCs for Sangguniang Barangay member
- 92,774 COCs for Sangguniang Kabataan chairperson
- 493,069 COCs for Sangguniang Kabataan member
A total of 672,432 seats are up for grabs including:
- 42,027 seats for barangay chairperson
- 294,189 seats for Sangguniang Barangay members
- 42,027 seats for Sangguniang Kabataan chairperson
- 294,189 seats for Sangguniang Kabataan members