Comelec: Up to 1,000 disqualification cases may be filed before BSKE

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 2) — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Monday said it may file up to 1,000 disqualification cases as the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections approach.

“The Task Force (Anti-Epal) has been reviewing, assessing whether indeed there is reasonable ground to believe that a disqualification case can be filed… I’m predicting that more or less 1,000 disqualification cases may be filed even before the election of October 30,” Comelec chairman George Garcia told CNN Philippines’ The Source.

So far, the task force has filed 35 disqualification cases over alleged premature campaigning. Garcia said up to 40 more will be filed on Monday.

He said this will be done every day as authorities review the statements of respondents issued with a show cause order. The poll body said its task force has issued almost 4,000 show cause orders nationwide, with around 700 of the involved individuals having submitted a response.

Garcia said 30% of the possible election violations were committed in Metro Manila, as well as in certain areas in the Visayas and Mindanao. While thousands of show cause orders were issued, he noted this is still a small number compared to the 1.414 million certificates of candidacies filed across the country.

“Just the same, we would like to be serious on the filing of these disqualification cases, we would like to prove to them that we will not go easy on these violations,” he warned.

Garcia said the move is also in preparation for the filing of disqualification cases against those who will engage in vote buying during the campaign period.

He explained that if the Comelec en banc would be able to decide on the cases before the elections and the decision becomes final and executory, the names of the erring candidates will be removed from the list.

“However, if for whatever reason, a decision was not, or is not released before the October 30 elections, we can still disqualify these candidates even if they will win, even after the election, at the same time we can still file election offense cases with an imprisonment of one to six years,” he pointed out.

Garcia also said that the Comelec is still reviewing the list of 246 areas of concern, or those in red category for possible election-related violence, which was submitted by the Philippine National Police. A final version is expected to be released this week, he added.