Just 1 vote will do it for 27,500 candidates
On Oct. 30, about 27,500 candidates in the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) will only need to do these things: get up, dress up, show up and write their names on the ballot.
With no one daring to challenge their election bids, these candidates for the BSKE are just a vote shy from securing their respective posts.
Based on the Sept. 21 data of the Commission on Elections (Comelec), there are 7,226 barangays in the country whose candidates for “punong barangay” (village chief or barangay captain) are running unopposed. Another 8,057 villages have aspirants for the SK chair post with sure seats.
On top of these, 1,611 barangays have a sure set of “sangguniang barangay” (village council) members and 10,620 others have SK members with no rivals. The sangguniang barangay, the legislative body of the village, is composed of the punong barangay as presiding officer and seven regular elected village council members (“kagawad”) and the SK chair as members.
Of the country’s 17 regions, the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) has the most number of unopposed candidates, with 1,200 vying for the punong barangay post and 1,452 seeking the SK chairmanship. There are 2,590 villages in the region.
The Comelec noted that the figures might change as its field offices were still in the process of correcting the entries and anticipating possible withdrawal of candidacy.
Eight barangays—one each in Central Visayas and Zamboanga Peninsula, and six in the BARMM—have no candidates for the top village post. There are also 31 barangays with no candidates for SK chair and 192 villages with possibly no SK member.
Based on Comelec rules, unchallenged candidates will need only a single vote to win, leaving voters with not much of an option as to who would lead their communities.
The Comelec has set the official campaign period from Oct. 19 to Oct. 28, during which a virtual campaign may be allowed, provided candidates will not distribute gifts to audiences when they livestream their activities.
At least 1,382 aspirants had received show-cause orders as of Thursday after the poll body found evidence of possible violations to its rules against premature campaigning.
Of the total, 157 had sent their explanations to Comelec. Upon initial assessment, the poll body said that 29 candidates might face possible disqualification complaints. INQ