MANILA, Philippines – President Benigno Aquino III will lead 54 million Filipinos who will cast their votes on Monday for the 2013 village (barangay) elections with the Commission on Elections expecting an unprecedented turnout of voters.
Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. told the Philippine Daily Inquirer they expect a “very high” voters’ turnout but Comelec officials said they can’t assure the polls will be fool-proof, noting there’s “no perfect election anywhere in the world.”
Secretary Herminio ‘Sonny’ Coloma, Jr. of the Presidential Communications Operations Office said in a radio interview Sunday that the President will cast his vote in his hometown in Tarlac early Monday morning.
“Sa gaganaping pambarangay na halalan, pangungunahan ng Pangulong Aquino ang 54 na milyong botante sa pagpili ng mga mamumuno at maglilingkod sa ating mga barangay (For the upcoming village elections, President Aquino will lead 54 million voters in choosing those who will lead and serve our villages),” Coloma said in a statement.
Meanwhile, both the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines are on full alert to ensure peaceful and orderly polls on Monday.
Over the weekend, police officers were deployed to priority areas to oversee the elections.
10 villages on election watchlist
The National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) is keeping a close watch on at least 10 villages in Metro Manila ahead of the Oct. 28 barangay elections.
Chief Supt. Dennis Pena, NCRPO deputy director for administration, said preemptive measures would be taken in these areas to avert any election-related disturbance, starting with the deployment of more policemen.
The 10 villages on the watchlist are Barangay 503 in Manila; Barangay 87, Caloocan City; Barangay Balong Bato, Valenzuela City; Barangay Maharlika, Taguig City; Barangay Pineda, Pasig City; Barangay Pio del Pilar, Makati City; Barangay Sto. Domingo, Quezon City; Barangay Catmon, Malabon City; Barangays West Navotas and Northbay Boulevard South, Navotas City.
Pena said the list was made based on the election history of these barangays and reports from concerned citizens.
There are 94,124 candidates for the 42,028 positions of village captain. Meanwhile, there are 715,012 candidates running for the 294,196 positions of councilor.
Coloma called on the public to vote, reminding them that it is in the village level that good governance starts.
“Ang barangay ang batayang institusyon ng ating lipunan. Ang bawat mamamayan ay may taya sa resulta ng halalang pambarangay. Ang mabuting pamamahala o good governance ay nag-uumpisa sa pagpili ng mabubuting pinunong pambarangay at mga kagawad ng barangay (The village is the basic institution of our society. Every citizen has a stake in the results of the village polls. Good governance starts in the selection of good village leaders and councilors),” he said.
Coloma said they are hoping for a good voter turnout.
Comelec all set
Meanwhile, the Comelec is all set for Monday’s polls. Ballots and poll materials have already been deployed to different parts of the country.
Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez over Twitter reminded voters to bring a valid ID and to use the pen provided instead of a pencil.
“Write legibly; write the candidate’s full name,” he said, adding that voters are not allowed to take a picture of their filled-up ballot.
Voting on Monday will start at 7 a.m. and will end at 3 p.m.