The Commission on Elections (Comelec) in Bohol has reminded local politicians to stay away from the election campaigns of barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan candidates to keep the polls nonpartisan as mandated by law.
Comelec provincial election supervisor Atty. Elesio Labaria on Tuesday said that some candidates have started to reach out to incumbent officials including mayors and ask for support after they filed their certificates of candidacy (COC).
“Ug mahimo kaning atong mga politiko dili lang unta mag-apil-apil sa pagpangampanya sa SK ug Barangay. Atong hangyoon nga pasagdan ning atong barangay nga sila-sila ra diha,” said Labaria in an interview with local media.
Under Section 38 of the Omnibus Election Code, barangay elections are nonpartisan and candidates may not represent themselves as belonging to any political party, or seek nomination or material support from one.
Labaria also urged the public to vote for those who they think will serve them best and have the ability to lead their communities.
“Panahon na siguro nga kitang mga botante makahibalo ta nga dili tanan panahon makaayo nang vote buying, atong tagaa’g higayon ang mga angay moserbisyo labina og kugihan ug duna puy abilidad,” he said.
The Comelec official admitted that vote-buying would still likely persist in the upcoming elections but he said that he is optimistic that the public will vote without being swayed by vote-buyers.
“Dili unta na mapildi lang sila [candidates] gumikan kay wala silay kwarta kondili mao na silay gipili sa mga tawo. Atong awhagon nga atong likayan ang vote buying,” he added.
The filing of COCs started on Saturday last week officially marking the start of the election period.
Polls will be on May 14 while the election period will end a week after. (R. Tutas)