Namfrel urges Comelec: Screen village poll bets carefully

MANILA An election watchdog asked the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to screen would-be candidates in the May 14, 2018 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) polls who have reportedly joined recent mass oath-taking activities by political parties.

This, as the National Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel) noted that village polls aspirants are barred from being members of any political party, as stated in the guidelines set by the poll body in the filing of Certificates of Candidacy (COCs).

How will Comelec effectively disqualify aspirants for barangay chair and council members, who will file COCs after reportedly having taken part in recent mass oath takings conducted by major political parties across the country? the citizens arm of the poll body in the last elections said.

Is the voluntary signing by aspirants of the Integrity Pledge, introduced by Comelec in 2015, sufficient to ensure adherence by potential candidates to the rule of law and check on impunity? the group added.

They cited Comelec Resolution 10196, Section 7, No. 15, which states that "the aspirant is not a member of any political party, group, or coalition of political parties.

Likewise, they pointed out the provision in the Omnibus Election Code which states that: the barangay election shall be non-partisan.

Namfrel secretary general Eric Alvia added that the provisions in the law should be followed.

If not implemented, then it makes a mockery of our election laws as well as diminishes the credibility of the election body, he said.

On the other hand, Comelec Spokesperson James Jimenez said they would discuss the matter at the proper time.

The Comelec is not inclined towards prejudgment on the matter of COCs that have not even been filed yet. At the proper time, the Comelec will issue the appropriate guidelines, he said.

The filing of COCs for the forthcoming polls will be held from April 14 to 20.

In recent months, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez has been leading mass oath-taking activities of the PDP Laban, which is chaired by President Rodrigo Duterte.

Source: Philippine News Agency

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