Comelec not keen on holding barangay, special polls in Negros Oriental simultaneously

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 3) — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has thumbed down the suggestion to hold the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections (BSKE) simultaneously with the special polls to fill the seat vacated by expelled congressman Arnolfo Teves Jr. in the third district of Negros Oriental.

On Sunday, Comelec chairman George Garcia said it would be better for the poll body to focus first on the October 30 BSKE because the congressional race is expected to be hotly contested.

"Alam naman natin na may natanggal sa puwesto. Hindi natin alam kung sino magfa-file ng COC (certificate of candidacy). Napakahirap ihalo sa barangay. So mas magandang focused tayo sa barangay at SK tapos ilang linggo lang, focused na tayo sa special election.," he said.

[Translation: We know someone was removed from their position. We don't know who will file their COC. It would be difficult to include it in the barangay. It would be better to focus on the barangay and SK and then a few weeks later, we focus on the special elections.]

The special election in the third district of Negros Oriental is set on December 9.

The filing of certificates of candidacy will be from November 6 to 8, while the campaign period will begin on November 9 and end on December 7.

Garcia said he and other members of the Comelec en banc will be in the district on election day to personally monitor proceedings and proclaim the winner.

"We will be there so we can monitor the conduct of the special election. Ang hope namin makapag-proclaim tayo ng December 10 ng gabi. Latest yung December 11 ng umaga," said Garcia.

[Translation: We will be there so we can monitor the conduct of the special election. We hope we can proclaim on the evening of December 10 or at the latest, the morning of December 11.]

Garcia said Comelec will announce this week other details of its preparations for special election in Negros Oriental.

Earlier, Garcia said P75 million was allotted for the special election.

The Constitution states that in cases of vacancy in the Senate or House of Representatives, a special election may be called. The person to fill the vacancy can only serve for the remainder of the term.