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Comelec relieves poll officials running in 2010

MANILA, Philippines - The Commission on Elections (Comelec) yesterday ordered the immediate relief of all poll officials who are running in the May 2010 elections but have not given up their posts.

In a resolution, the Comelec directed all regional election directors to immediately relieve officials and employees who have filed their certificates of candidacy.

“Immediately relieve those officials and employees and direct them to report to the main office in Manila within five days from receipt of the order,” the Comelec said.

The poll body also instructed the regional directors to identify within three days all the Comelec officials and employees who have filed their COCs and designate their replacement to ensure continuous delivery of services.

The Comelec said it is necessary for it to adopt a policy concerning their officials and employees who filed COCs so as to preserve the integrity and credibility of the coming elections.

Under a previous Comelec resolution, the commission said any person holding public office shall be considered resigned from his office upon filing of his or her COC.

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Last Tuesday, however, the Supreme Court declared the Comelec resolution unconstitutional and allowed any appointive government official to run in the elections without resigning from his or her position.

Following the SC ruling, the Comelec learned that at least five Comelec officials and employees filed their COCs.

Comelec Commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal said they have received reports that there were about five poll personnel who filed their COCs, although only three have been confirmed so far, including election officers in Apayao and eastern Samar.

Larrazabal said the election officials did not inform the commission of their plans to run in the coming elections before filing their COCs.

“Normally, the procedure is for the Comelec personnel to wait for their retirement or resign from their posts before filing their COCs, but this time the commission was not informed beforehand,” Larrazabal said.

He said the poll body would later decide whether to reassign those Comelec officials to other areas or make them perform other duties.

Larrazabal, however, added that these poll officials have the option to resign.

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