BONTOC, Mountain Province – Poll officials here issued a stern warning that 3-term barangay officials who filed their certificates of candidacy (COCs) for similar positions in the upcoming May 14, 2018 synchronized barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections will be automatically disqualified aside from being criminally charged by the Commission on elections (Comelec).
Provincial election Supervisor lawyer Ricardo Lampac revealed verifications are still underway to ascertain the number of 3-term barangay officials who filed their COCs for similar elected positions despite being prohibited to seek re-election for a 4th term.
“We are looking into reports that there were a number of three-term barangay officials who filed their COCs for similar positions to disqualify them outright before the May 14 synchronized elections,” Lampac stressed.
Aside from being disqualified in the upcoming polls, the poll official claimed that the Comelec can also motto propio file a case of perjury against the 3-term barangay officials based on his or her sworn statement in the last paragraph of the COC that he or she is qualified for the position and does not possess any disqualification.
According to him, the penalty to be imposed against 3-term barangay officials who tried their luck to file their COCs for similar positions will be imprisonment of 6 months to 6 years upon the discretion of the court.
Earlier, reports showed that 113 candidates for the different elected positions in the upcoming elections are disqualified primarily because they are on their third term in office.
Of the said number of disqualified candidates, 109 candidates are seeking re-election for barangay kagawad for the fourth time while 9 are aspiring for punong barangay to reclaim their positions in their barangays located in the different parts of the province.
Lampac advised the 3-term barangay officials who attempted to file their COCs for similar positions in the forthcoming political exercise to withdraw their COCs so that they will not be outright disqualified and subsequently charged for violation of election laws, rules and regulations.
He underscored that stakeholders are now busy preparing for the May 14 synchronized barangay and SK polls to maintain the conduct of honest, orderly and peaceful elections which Mountain Province has been known for through the years, except for unavoidable minor election-related incidents that were immediately addressed by the alert police and military personnel assigned in the said places.
Lampac warned candidates for the various elected positions to observe the stringent rules and regulations governing the campaign period to avoid being subjected to disqualification proceedings by their rivals who may be able to document their violations, but instead try to practice common campaigning in their barangays to save on time, effort and resources.
He expressed his gratitude to the police and military personnel and volunteers for continuously extending the assistance to election officials around the province to guarantee the realization of peaceful and orderly elections.