MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE) - The Commission on Elections issued on Sunday a resolution to address the delays in the delivery of election paraphernalia to the country's 40,000 barangays.
Resolution No. 9078 states that barangay and Sangguniang Kabtaan elections can continue until 5 p.m. if the official ballots, accountable forms and other election paraphernalia for a particular precinct will arrive at its designated polling center before noon of October 25.
It states that if after 5 p.m., there are still voters present who have not yet cast their votes, "The poll clerk shall, without delay, list the names of said voters consecutively numbered. The voters listed shall be called to vote by the poll clerk by announcing each name three times in the order in which they are listed. Any voter in the list who is not present when called shall not be permitted to vote at any later time."
The Comelec said barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections will be postponed to the following day, October 26, or on the next day, October 27, if the official ballots, accountable forms and other election paraphernalia for a particular precinct arrive after 12 noon.
The poll body has been working nonstop during the last few days for the printing of ballots and management of other paraphernalia for the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections.
The delivery of some of the election-related materials, however, was hampered by the onslaught of typhoon Juan.
The Comelec has already decided to suspend the elections in 3 areas in Isabela: Divilacan, Maconacon and Palanan. These 3 were badly hit by typhoon Juan.
The poll body also postponed elections in San Isidro and Salumague in Paniqui, Tarlac due to floods.
On the other hand, elections were also postponed in the following areas due to lack of elections materials. These are: Talalora, Daram, Zumarraga, San Jose de Buan Tagapulaan, Almagro, Santo Niño, Pagsanghan, Matuguinao and 7 remote barangays in Calbayog City.
PNP expects peaceful election
The Philippine National Police, meanwhile, said it expects this year's barangay and SK elections to be relatively peaceful compared to the 2007 polls due to stricter imposition of the nationwide gun ban and Comelec checkpoints.
As of 6:35 a.m., the PNP has recorded 41 election-related violence since the start of the campaign period. This is lower than the 67 incidents recorded in 2007.
PNP spokesman Senior Superintendent Agrimero Cruz Jr. said the police have made 623 arrests recently for violation of the Comelec gun ban, compared to only 347 in 2007.
He said the PNP has declared 3,635 barangays as election hotspots.
He said the police have put up security assistance desks all over the country.
Meanwhile, the poll body has ordered the filing of disqualification cases against more than 4,000 candidates in the barangay elections found to have already served 4 to 5 terms.
In Resolution 9077, the Comelec en banc ordered the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to submit a list of the names of these candidates.
The Comelec will then refer the names to its Law department, which will file the proper cases.
In a separate press conference, Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said hearings will be conducted immediately. These would be summary in nature, meaning a case would only be heard through pleadings and position papers.
Each division handling a case will only be given three days to come up with a decision.
Jimenez said the erring candidates may also face criminal charges of perjury and material misrepresentation.
Names of suspected multiple termers will be forwarded to the election officers who will place an asterisk on their names to inform voters of their pending disqualification cases.
Their votes, however, would only be considered stray votes in the event that these candidates are officially disqualified.
If a multiple termer wins, his or her proclamation will be suspended pending the resolution of his or her disqualification case. – with reports from Ina Reformina and Pia Gutierrez, ABS-CBN News; and Ira Pedrasa, abs-cbnNEWS.com