MANILA, (Mabuhay) – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is eyeing holding the special elections in all 19 barangays in Zamboanga City before November 30.
“Preferably we would want to have the special elections before November 30 to avoid any hold over,” said Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes in an interview.
He explained that the three-year term of the incumbent barangay chairman and barangay councilmen will end on November 30 at 12 noon.
However, Brillantes said that as of press time they cannot set the date of the special polls as they are still assessing the situation in the said province.
“We cannot as yet schedule (the special elections), depende sa situation , inaassess na din on a day to day basis. Siguro as we move on with the October 28 barangay elections in other areas in the country, immediately after that or even before baka maiset na naming kung kelan,” he added.
The poll body chief said that the authorities are looking to finish clearing operations in the area in two to three weeks.
On October 8, the Commission en banc through Resolution No. 9793 approved the recommendation of the Philippine National Police, Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Department of Education and the City Council Crisis Management Committee to postpone the October 28 polls due to the crisis that recently happened in the province.
On the other hand, Commission Robert Christian Lim said it is between 70-80 percent that the special polls is doable before November 30.
He added that they need to give local candidates 19 days to file their certificate of candidacy (COC) and to campaign since the calendar of activities has been reset because of the postponement.
“Yung 19 days ‘yun yung mandated by law na magfile ng COC, campaign period, ‘yun yung hindi namin magagalaw,” Lim explained.
He noted that they want to hold the special polls before November 30 as they do not want to be accused of favoring incumbent officials.
“As much as possible we want to avoid that kasi we might be blamed that we are favoring the incumbent para tatagal ng tatagal sila, but at the end of the day ang priority namin is yung security ng Zamboanga,” he added.
Lim noted that the only additional expense for them since the polls in Zamboanga City have been postponed is the publication of the resolutions.
“Actually ‘yung dagdag gastos yung publication lang ng resolutions but ‘yung budget namin is still the same, ‘yung gastos sa teachers, still the same, kasi we will not yet be releasing the honoraria. ‘Yung mga official ballots na print na yan, we will not deploy it yet , nandyan na ‘yan lahat. So minimal lang,” he said. (MNS)