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Disqualification hangs over ‘epals’

Comelec tells south Mindanao bets to shape up or be barred from polls

DIGOS CITY—The Commission on Elections (Comelec) in southern Mindanao has ordered reelectionist politicians and other candidates to remove signs bearing their images and names from government projects or stickers displayed on vehicles or risk being disqualified.

Wilfredo Balisado, Comelec director for the region, which covers the three Davao provinces and Compostela Valley, said displaying candidates’ images and names before the start of the local campaign period is a blatant violation of election laws.

Balisado, who was here to brief candidates about the campaign period, said candidates have been sent letters reminding them of the rules on campaigning.

He said the start of the campaign period falls on a Good Friday so the start of the local campaign period would be Black Saturday.

Maria Febes Barlaan, also a ranking Comelec official in the region, said candidates who refuse to take down posters or signs will face disqualification procedures.

Barlaan said the Comelec wanted to level the playing field for candidates.

She said officials seeking reelection enjoy an advantage over new candidates because of their access to government resources.

This is the reason, she said, for the Comelec order for candidates to remove signs or posters bearing their names and images on government projects.

Efforts by the Inquirer to reach Gov. Douglas Cagas repeatedly failed amid criticisms that all infrastructure projects built or being put up under his administration bore his name or that of his wife, Mercedes, and son, Rep. Marc Douglas.

Even vehicles, including ambulances, that he and his congressman-son had distributed to village officials for official functions bore the Cagas family name.

Balisado said vigilance among voters would help the Comelec, which does not have enough manpower, to monitor violations by politicians of campaign rules.

He said voters can report violations by politicians through several means, including the poll body’s Twitter account (@Comelec), its Facebook page (www.facebook.com/PCOSDemo2013) or by using the feedback form on the website #SumbongKo sa Comelec (www.mycomelec.tv) and the poll body’s hotlines, (02) 5275574, 5259345 and 5259302. Orlando B. Dinoy, Inquirer Mindanao

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Tags: 2013 elections , Comelec , Elections 2013 , Epals , Politics

  • Roberto Duran

    Douglas Cagas, Mark Cagas, Didi Cagas vs. Claude Bautista, Franklin Bautista, Joseph Bautista, Bradley Bautista, Brett Bautista… these families are the plague that continues to worsen the lives of people from Davao del Sur…

    • pedronimo

       Kasalanan ng mga bobong botante kung bakit buhay pa yang mga dynasties na iyan sa Davao del Sur

  • okayayonip

    try to visit the province of oriental mindoro and see for yourself the intial of RGV everywhere, kind of the capital of GRAFFITI country. even in a small town of victoria, the intials of mayor ortega are fiixed on all street lamp post.

  • Hey_Dudes

    This is truly hilarious once the epals get disqualified, I am sure next will be the coupals!

  • pedronimo

    If the Comelec can’t disqualify these obstinate Epals, then it is an inutle commission that is all bark and no bite.

  • boldyak

    Punta kayo sa Taguig, ang Police patrol may pangalan ng mayor sa likod…bwahahahaha…ang problema nahuli sa camera ang patrol car na gamit ng mga police nagbabantay sa topada at kumukuha ng protection money…bwahahahaha

  • JasonBieber

    Candidates and those already in elected government positions can’t help but be ‘epal.’

    They want that position to be in power and for personal economic reasons but when you see real achievements it is lacking. They don’t do much collectively in helping the country so when they finally do something they want the whole country to see to cover-up the lack of work. 

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