Oct 302013

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has started filing petitions to disqualify barangay officials who sought a fourth term in the October 28 elections.

Comelec chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. said the Comelec Law Department filed the petitions against barangay bets who had finished their third consecutive term but still ran in Monday’s polls.

Both the law on barangay elections and the Local Government Code set a three-term limit for village officials.

The Comelec filed the petitions before the proclamation date,giving the commission motu proprio (“on its own initiative”) mandate on the case.

That means it can disqualify the candidates even without a complaint from rival bets, Brillantes said.

“Meron nang finile na petitions against those listed by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) for disqualification. Motu proprio on our part. Ang Law Department ang pinag-file namin,” Brillantes said on Wednesday.

The DILG earlier submitted a list of third-termer officials to the Comelec.

Brillantes said the poll body will conduct hearings with the parties and will also check the records of the candidates to see if they ran for a fourth term.

“We took the initiative and took judicial notice of the fact that this is the record sent to us by DILG… We’re now going to check on the record. ‘Pag nakita namin three-termer ‘yan based on our record, then we will disqualify them,” Brillantes said.

The Comelec, however, will not suspend the proclamation of supposed three-termer candidates in case they won in Monday’s polls, Brillantes said. 

The poll body earlier suspended the proclamation of bets who are nuisance candidates, unregistered voters, or those with criminal convictions from the Ombudsman.

Brillantes said the disqualified three-termer bets may be replaced by the candidate with the next highest number of votes.

“Kung three-termer ka, considered kang ineligible. And therefore, ‘yung second placer ang uupo,” he said.

Overstaying barangay chiefs may also face a charges for false representation in their Certificates of Candidacy, an election offense that could result in one to six years imprisonment and disqualification from public office, the Comelec said. — JDS, GMA News

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