Comelec forms committee for barangay elections

By Mayen Jaymalin, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jun 17 2013 07:08 AM | Updated as of Jun 17 2013 03:08 PM

MANILA, Philippines - A month after the midterm elections, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) has formed a steering committee to ensure smooth preparations for the barangay elections in October.

Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes said the committee is composed of four young Comelec commissioners with Commissioner Christian Lim as chairman.

“All those doing the preparations will go to the steering committee and our agreement is if the decision of the committee is unanimous, it’s like the en banc decision because they have four commissioner members,” Brillantes added.

The Comelec chief also said that the committee has already come out with resolution concerning the registration for barangay elections, but the poll body is still divided on whether to automate or not the barangay elections in Metro Manila since the early filing of certificates of candidacy might be a problem should the barangay polls be automated.

“If we automate, there is the issue of printing the ballots, there must be configuration so that problem is timeline if we can catch up with only five months away from the scheduled polls,” Brillantes said.

The Comelec earlier expressed intention to postpone the barangay elections due to the expected influx of midterm election protest cases. Malacañang, however, junked the idea as President Aquino maintained that the polls should push through in October.

For this reason, the Philippine National Police (PNP) is also gearing up for the barangay polls.

In Western Visayas, the PNP is finalizing plans on training more civilian security escorts to serve as force multiplier during the elections.

Western Visayas Police director Chief Superintendent Agrimero Cruz Jr. said the training will be conducted by the WV Regional-Security Agency and Guards Unit.

Cruz said the training could help the PNP handle security issues in the event the polls push through in October. More preparations are also being made in anticipation of more intense political rivalry.

“The training will proceed despite the Comelec’s proposal,” Cruz said.

He also said that the experience in the recent midterm elections in the region showed that there was not enough protective agents in Western Visayas to meet the many requests for security escorts.

The PNP Western Visayas will also coordinate with the local Armed Forces of the Philippines in preparation for security measures to ensure peaceful and orderly barangay elections. – With Cecille Suerte Felipe