By Dolly Yasa
Negros Occidental Commission on Elections (Comelec) supervisor Atty. Ian Lee Ananoria said the issuance of show cause orders against some candidates in the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections (BSKE) for alleged premature campaigning has lessened tensions at the barangay level.
Ananoria said that as of October 5, 2023, his office has already issued 73 show cause orders to candidates for the BSKE in Negros Occidental for alleged premature campaigning.
He added that 40 orders were served to BSKE 2023 candidates in various barangays of EB Magalona.
Show cause orders were also issued to barangay and SK candidates in the cities of Bacolod, Sipalay, Bago, La Carlota, Himamaylan, and Kabankalan.
Ananoria out that BSKE candidates are prohibited from distributing any item that may have value and can be construed as soliciting votes.
This is considered a form of vote buying under Section 2618 of the Omnibus Election Code.
The Comelec urged the public to report the use of illegal campaign materials and premature campaigning.
The official campaign period for the BSKE will be from October 19 to 28, Ananoria stressed.
The number of election areas of concern (EAC) in Negros Occidental remains at 51 out of 662 barangays in the province.
Earlier Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Lacson said this is no cause for alarm at all.
In Roxas City, Capiz, the Comelec has issued show cause orders to 34 candidates.
This was confirmed by Capiz provincial election supervisor Atty. Wil Arceño on Friday after 8 more show cause orders were issued to BSKE bets.
He said the show cause orders were issued by their central office in Manila.
Arceño advised the candidates to wait for the campaign period on October 19 to 28 and avoid premature campaigning in order not to put in peril their candidacy in the coming October 30, 2023 elections.
Meanwhile, Arceño reminded the candidates of the guidelines for hiring a poll watcher. He said poll watchers should have a good reputation and have knowledge of the Comelec’s rules and regulations.
He said that a barangay official, secretary, treasurer, tanod, and health worker are prohibited from acting as poll watchers.
Arceño said that a watcher should assist the electoral board during the voting and help verify the true identity of the voters.
He clarified that only candidates running for punong barangay are allowed to hire poll watchers who could enter the voting precincts together with the electoral board.