Comelec eyes special elections in Lanao del Sur on May 24
MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is eyeing the holding of special elections in 12 barangays of Tubaran town in Lanao del Sur on May 24, an official said Saturday.
Comelec spokesman Rex Laudiangco said the date is only for “purposes of planning” because the polling body has yet to determine whether the cause of failure of elections have already ceased.
“Under Section 7 of the Omnibus Election Code, we have to be sure that the cause of failure of elections should have ceased first. That is why we have a projection na na May 24 para sa special elections sa Tubaran,” he said in a press briefing.
A failure of elections have been declared in 14 barangays in three municipalities Lanao del Sur due to several reasons, among which is the reported theft of armed men of a vote-counting machine and ballots on election day in Butig, halting the balloting exercise in a precinct in Butig Central School.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) failed to retrieve stolen ballots in Ragayan, Butig. One policeman was also stabbed while protecting the vote-counting machines (VCMs).
Meanwhile, reported violence resulting in the damage of the VCMs and official ballots were the reason for the failure of elections in Pindolonan, Binidayan.
Violence, threats, and intimidation were reported in Tangcal, Datumanong, Guiarong, Baguiangun, Wago, Malaganding, Gadongan, Riantaran, Pagalamatan, Mindamunag, Paigoday-pimbataan, and Metadicop in Tubaran.
Laudiangco said the special elections in Lanao del Sur do not need special ballots not VCMs since the items allocated for the said towns are “with the Comelec and are intact.”
“‘Yung lang mismong halalan ang gagawin,” he said.
(It is the election that needs to be done.)
The Comelec official said that the polling body, sitting as the National Board of Canvassers (NBOC), is still studying whether the votes there will affect the outcome of the votes for the national posts, which are currently being canvassed.
For now, the Comelec cannot yet say that they are “optimistic” that the votes in Tubaran town will not affect the results of the national elections.
“Sa ngayon, hindi pa kami makapagpahayag na we’re optimistic na ito naman ‘yung sa Tubaran, ay hindi makakapekto given na malinaw naman ‘yung resulta noong transparency websites,” he said.
(For now, we cannot yet say that we’re optimistic that the situation in Tubaran will not affect the count of votes drastically, given that the results in the transparency server is clear.)
“But then again the projections are unofficial, what is official is our canvass here, dito tayo magbabase sa canvass natin,’ Laudiangco added.
(We will base the official results here in the canvassing.)
It is only when the NBOC has determined that the results of the special elections will not affect the overall outcome of the national elections will it proceed with the proclamation of winning senators and party-lists.
“Until such time na hindi pa nakikita, pinag-aaralan pa at pagdedesisyunan ‘yan, under consideration pa rin ang status quo,” Laudiangco.
(Until such time that the NBOC has not made its determination and it’s still being studied and decided, its status is still under consideration.)
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