Comelec to investigate teachers who quit as poll workers on BSKE day

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 2) — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Thursday said only the teachers who backed out as poll workers on the day of the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) will be investigated.

“What we are going to investigate are those teachers who on the day of the election... withdrew on the same day and time after the opening of the polls and didn't even want to give the election paraphernalia to those who are replacing them, the personnel of the Philippine National Police (PNP),” Comelec Chairman George Garcia told CNN Philippines’ The Source.

Garcia said the Comelec wants to find out if someone was behind their decision to abandon their posts.

"We would like to find out were they threatened? Were they harassed by certain individuals, by politicians…in order to prevent in the future the occurrence of these incidents?" he added.

Garcia assured teachers who quit prior to Election Day that they will not face any complaints.

In an interview with reporters on Thursday afternoon, Garcia said some of the teachers who withdrew during election day were from Lanao del Sur in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, which caused a delay in voting.

On Tuesday night, the poll body released information that a village in Piagapo town had to reset elections from Oct. 30 to Oct. 31 as electoral boards backed out due to a “security issue which arose from a mauling incident between supporters.” Over 500 voters were affected, according to the Comelec.

RELATED: Delays, violence mar BSKE in Lanao del Sur, Samar  

Garcia said the police, who should be on standby to substitute as poll workers on election day, reported that they were not ready to serve as electoral boards due to the late notice.

He said the findings of the investigation will be shared also with the Department of Education and Bangsamoro’s Ministry of Basic, Higher, and Technical Education.

“Kung sa palagay nila hindi katanggap-tanggap ‘yong dahilan, hindi na natin mao-obliga ‘yong mga gurong ito na maglingkod sa susunod na halalan para hindi na maulit ‘yung ganyang klaseng pagkakataon,” he said.

[Translation: If they assessed that the reason behind the backing out is unacceptable, we cannot oblige those teachers to serve in the next elections so that this won’t happen again.]

Garcia said “more or less 3,000 teachers,” including 29 in Abra and around 2,500 in the Bangsamoro region, backed out from poll duties nationwide. Their reasons vary, like having family ties with BSKE candidates.

They were replaced by PNP personnel who were also trained in holding elections.

The BSKE finally pushed through on Oct. 30 after several delays. All 42,001 barangays nationwide participated in the polls, the Comelec said.