BSKE candidates with show cause orders reach 600 — Comelec

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 14) — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has ordered almost 600 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Election (BSKE) candidates to explain possible election offenses, Chairman George Garcia said on Thursday.

"Presently, we already sent about 400 show cause orders against almost 400 individuals requiring them to explain why they should not be disqualified and or charged criminally," Garcia told CNN Philippines' The Source.

"Today, we're going to send 200 show cause orders again. A-araw arawin po namin 'yan (We will do this daily)," he added.

The chairman warned election regulation violators that motu proprio investigations – probe without formal requests – will be conducted immediately after cases have been filed against them.

RELATED: Comelec to send show cause orders to BSKE bets via email

Garcia said complaints will be docketed and filed by a Comelec task force against the candidate, and emphasized that complainants do not need to file the protests themselves.

Comelec consistently warned against early campaigning as the campaign period will only run from Oct. 19 to 28.

Garcia said all mediums for promoting candidates, both for traditional posters, paraphernalia and social media posts, are considered grounds for premature campaigning.

The chairman, however, admitted that the poll body is lacking the manpower to address all the election-related cases filed so far.

"We will readily admit that we are short of people but, however, we have several lawyers naman po in the commission that we can tap. We are tapping from the different offices, we are actually borrowing the lawyers from the offices of the commissioners," Garcia said.

"We would want to prove to everyone that even if we lack resources and personnel, we are of strong belief that we can punish and prosecute these people. Tama na po 'yung mga nangyayari before na parang dumadaan lang at pinagbibigyan lang. (What happened before where they were just given a pass should stop now.) This is now the best time to teach a lesson to these candidates," he added.

Meanwhile, Garcia said at least 300 have already been arrested for violating the nationwide gun ban, a 100 increase from some 200 individuals arrested a week after the ban was implemented.

He added that more checkpoints will be put up in several parts of the country in preparation for the nationwide elections.