BSKE campaign starts; warning out vs vote buying

Mayen Jaymalin - The Philippine Star
BSKE campaign starts; warning out vs vote buying
Workers print posters and tarpaulins of candidates in the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections at a printing shop in Manila yesterday ahead of the start of the campaign period.
Ernie Peñaredondo

MANILA, Philippines — As the campaign period begins today, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) warned candidates in the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections (BSKE) against engaging in vote buying and other poll offenses.

Comelec Chairman George Garcia said the poll body would disqualify candidates found violating election rules.

“Just follow the rules. It’s not good to get disqualified. Your campaign will be wasted and your reputation is at stake,” Garcia advised BSKE candidates yesterday in Filipino.

He urged Filipinos to report any violation and promised that the Comelec would act on it.

Garcia stressed the need for all BSKE candidates to comply with the mandated size of campaign materials and refrain from posting these in public places.

He said billboards, posters and tarpaulins should not exceed 2x3 feet.

Candidates must ask permission from the owner of the private property where they want to put the campaign posters.

“Don’t dare to put us to the test as we have proven in premature campaigning that we will file disqualification cases,” Garcia said.

The Comelec’s Task Force Anti-Epal is in charge of filing disqualification cases against those who will violate the policy on campaign materials.

Garcia said the poll body is working with the Philippine National Police (PNP) and Bureau of Fire Protection in removing illegally posted campaign materials.

If complaints will not be resolved before the elections, Garcia said the Comelec might opt to suspend the proclamation of winning candidates with pending disqualification complaints.

Since their authority extends beyond the elections, Garcia said the Comelec could also disqualify erring candidates even after proclamation.

As of now, he said the Comelec has not received any report of vote buying.

He said that aside from the poll body, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) is closely monitoring possible digital vote buying.

The BSP has informed all financial institutions under its supervision regarding possible digital vote buying/selling schemes.

Garcia said the BSP could order platforms to submit all transaction records involving transferring in huge volumes, regardless of the amount.

He said all BSKE candidates are required to submit statement of contribution and expenditures (SOCE).

Those who fail to submit their SOCEs after two elections will be disqualified from running for public office.

Garcia said the Comelec has issued show cause orders to almost 7,000 candidates accused of engaging in premature campaigning.

He said the Comelec has filed more than a hundred disqualification cases.

Garcia said the deployment of ballots and other election paraphernalia for the BSKE is now 95 percent complete.

He said the poll body has not encountered any issues in the delivery of materials.

As of Tuesday, the Comelec completed delivery of accountable forms in Cagayan Valley, the Cordilleras, Central Luzon and Bicol.

Garcia said he is awaiting confirmation on the completion of deliveries in Zamboanga peninsula, Northern Mindanao, Davao region and Bangsamoro.

He said the poll body would deploy today and tomorrow accountable forms in the National Capital Region.

187,000 cops

At least 187,000 police officers will secure the BSKE, including the campaign period.

The figure represents 82.01 percent of the 228,000-strong PNP.

Col. Jean Fajardo, public information officer, said the PNP would secure the 10-day campaign period from Oct. 19 to 28 and the elections on Oct. 30.

Fajardo said the same number of officers would be deployed to secure the public on All Saints’ and Souls’ Days or Undas in November.

The PNP will augment police units in around 356 barangays considered as election areas of concern and listed under the red category, or areas where intense political rivalries and violence might occur. – Emmanuel Tupas, Evelyn Macairan, Nillicent Bautista

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