No militarization of polls – Comelec
Mayen Jaymalin (The Philippine Star) - January 31, 2016 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines – Even with policemen serving as Board of Election Inspectors (BEIs), the Commission on Elections (Comelec) yesterday allayed fears of “militarization” in the May elections.

Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista said the impending passage and implementation of the Election Service Reform Act, which makes poll duties optional for public school teachers resulting in policemen serving as BEIs, would not result in militarized elections.

“We don’t want that. That is our last option,” Bautista said.

Some sectors have expressed fear that making poll duty optional for teachers could force policemen to serve as BEIs.

But Bautista stressed that the Comelec would only designate Philippine National Police officers in “extreme situations.”

“We believe they should only come in when there is real peace and order problem that no one is willing to serve as BEIs. At this point, our police should really get into the picture,” the poll chief explained.

In previous polls, the Comelec tapped police trainees as members of BEIs after some teachers refused to serve on election day due to prevailing violence in some areas.

Last week, Congress passed Senate Bill 2178, making election duties non-mandatory.

Bautista assured the public that the poll body would continue to encourage teachers to volunteer and serve as BEI members.

He said the Comelec would come out with guidelines providing “clear preference” for public school teachers to serve as BEI members.

An estimated 300,000 teachers are needed to man about 95,000 clustered polling precincts nationwide.

If teachers would not be available, Bautista said the Comelec would turn to government employees as replacement.

The Omnibus Election Code provided that “no person shall be appointed chairman, member or substitute member of the BEIs unless he is of good moral character and irreproachable reputation, a registered voter of the city or municipality, has never been convicted of any election offense or of any other crime punishable by more than six months of imprisonment.”

ACIRC BAUTISTA BOARD OF ELECTION INSPECTORS BUT BAUTISTA COMELEC COMELEC CHAIRMAN ANDRES BAUTISTA ELECTION SERVICE REFORM ACT OMNIBUS ELECTION CODE PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE SENATE BILL TEACHERS
Philstar
  • Latest
  • Trending
Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

FORGOT PASSWORD?
SIGN IN
or sign in with