By Rey Anthony Chiu/PIA-Bohol | 06:27 PM October 28, 2023
After the long preparations and coordination activities in the conduct of the upcoming elections, Commission on Elections (Comelec) reported, all is set.
Except for the unforeseen glitches that could happen, everything boils down now to the voters to make the delayed 2023 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) Elections (BSKE) a success.
Comelec Assistant Regional Director and Boholano lawyer and acclaimed student activist in his heydays, Veronico Petalcorin said this, during the recent Kapihan sa PIA, which tackled the preparations in the conduct of the 2023 polls that would allow eligible voters to elect for one barangay chairman and 7 barangay councilors to comprise the Sangguniang Barangay (SB).
Registered voters of 15 to 17 years old would be given one ballot for SK, while those aged 18 to 30 will get one SK ballot and one ballot to fill for Barangay candidates.
This may take up more time for them to fill but, considering these young people to be more agile, and quick, the Comelec expects very little delay, especially when the precincts open early and close at 3 PM, noting the voters still in the queue and accommodating until all of them who were in at the closing are served.
Registered voters over 31, on the other hand, will get only one ballot for barangay authorities.
Despite some attempts to implement automated elections, the 2023 BSKE, is a manual polls, he said.
As the voters have to manually write their candidates, writing legibly would make it easier for the election canvassers to appreciate the votes. However, teacher canvassers are also tasked to decipher to the best of their abilities, these writings, to make each vote count, assured the Comelec.
As Boholanos are to choose 1,109 punong barangays and 7,763 barangay councilors, SK voters are also given the added task of electing their local youth council leaders.
As of the last information, local Comelec records show that there are 3,291 candidates for punong barangays and SK chairmen: 1,847 for Punong Barangays and 1,444 SK chairman.
As to the barangay councils, 13,759 are gunning for the 7 seat posts in the barangay and 6,736 for 7-seat SK positions.
There would be special lanes for senior citizens, persons with disabilities and overly pregnant women, Comelec said.
These complaints, when found to be in order, could be violations against the electoral laws and would be deemed criminal in nature, where the courts are to hear and decide, and depending on the severity of the offense, could fetch up to a perpetual disqualification from holding any elective position, government service, penalties and even imprisonment, not counting the possible administrative cases.
Teachers who have been trained to facilitate the conduct of the elections are organized into Election Boards for each precincts, and supervised by the DepED Supervising Official (DESO), according to Atty Petalcorin.
Complaints during the conduct of the 2023 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) have to be raised to the electoral board, so these can be put on record, the election official said.
These complaints would also be escalated by the Electoral Board to the DESO , who would also report this to the Comelec who would decide on the complaint for elevation to the courts, when found to be meritorious.
In the meantime, anything unusual, especially when they are election related, would be acted upon by the members of the Philippine National Police assigned in the area, especially when these are criminal in nature.
An augmentation of police personnel and Civilian Armed Auxiliary Force have been assigned in election areas of concern, according to Petalcorin, as the local elections happen, October 30. (rahc/PIA7/Bohol)