1,732 villages fail to hold barangay, SK polls

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 25 2010 04:27 PM | Updated as of Oct 26 2010 12:42 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The Commission on Elections said 4.12% or 1,732 of the 42,025 barangays in the country were unable to hold barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections on Monday.

The Comelec said special elections will be held in these barangays on Tuesday from 7 a.m.  to 7 p.m.

Comelec Chairman Jose Melo earlier admitted that delayed deliveries of election materials affected the conduct of the barangay elections in various parts of the country. He blamed the late arrival of the election paraphernalia to several factors including delays in the printing and dispatch of the poll materials.

He said the poll body had to reconstitute the Comelec bids and awards committee after the Ombudsman suspended the former committee members for the botched ballot secrecy folder deal.

Melo said moves by both chambers of Congress to postpone the elections also prompted the poll body to take a cautious stance as far as spending is concerned.

"Sometime ago, the Congress and Senate held hearings and we were invited. Our take was that the general sentiment was to postpone the polls by both Houses. On our part naman, we did not want to second-guess anybody. We did not want to spend unnecessarily. Baka naman sinabi ng iba kung ginastos sinayang pera ng bayan kung nagdecide na huwag ituloy," he said.

President Benigno Aquino III earlier said he was dissatisfied with the reported delays in the opening of poll precincts in numerous barangays all over the country.

In a press conference, Aquino said Comelec should have prepared more for the electoral process. “Compared to the automated elections, this is a simpler undertaking. We need to know the reason for the delay," he said.

Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said the late delivery of poll materials problems was caused by road hitches and shipping delays.

"There were several instances where delivery trucks suffered flat tires. In some cases, they left Manila late because of shipping scheduling and flights not being available. (But) they tried to recover as much as possible because the schedule was very, very tight," he said.

Melo said that some ballots have to be reprinted due to unintentional duplication of serial numbers which also caused the delay. He said the antiquated printing presses at the National Printing Office are partly to blame for the delays.

He also echoed Aquino's sentiment expressing dissatisfaction with the conduct of the polls. "He is not alone siguro. Personal yun. Nasa kanya yun. Tayo hindi satisfied because a little delayed ang bidding," he said.

The Comelec has issued Resolution 9079 allowing Board of Election Tellers (BET) to add one arabic numeral after the last digit of the duplicated serial number to render the ballots usable.

Comelec Commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal said the printing of ballots was suppose to run for just 45 daysbut was cramped into just 16 days. With reports from Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News; and the Presidential Communications Operations Office