‘They must be investigated,’ says Garcia to teachers who abandoned poll duty
MANILA, Philippines — Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman George Erwin Garcia said on Thursday that the teachers who withdrew from their Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections (BSKE) duty must be investigated.
It was Garcia’s response to a statement released by the Teachers’ Dignity Coalition on Wednesday, which cited inadequate security as possibly one of the reasons some educators, particularly in areas traditionally under Comelec control, withdrew from their duties.
“This must be investigated to prevent similar incidents to happen [from happening] as things like this may endanger future electoral exercises,” Garcia told reporters in a Viber message.
Garcia noted that the poll body respects the decision of those who withdrew before the election day since the duty is not mandatory for teachers.
“But what about those very very few who on the day of the elections, when the precincts already opened, suddenly withdrew without any notice whatsoever,” he asked.
“Complicating this, is their refusal to turn over the election paraphernalia to their replacements for no known reason,” he highlighted.
On October 29, Comelec said in a press briefing, a day before the BSKE, that 2,500 teachers in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, 29 in Abra, and 10 in the Bicol Region backed out of their duty.
Department of Interior and Local Government Chief Benjamin Abalos Jr., in a media forum on Wednesday, also expressed support for Comelec’s plan of going after teachers who purportedly “delayed” the election by not fulfilling their poll duty without valid reason.