THE Department of Education (DepEd) is still studying possibilities whether administrative charges would be filed against the public school teachers who are supposed to serve in the barangay polls in Maguindanao province.
Tonisito Umali, DepEd assistant secretary for legal and legislative affairs, on Wednesday said that they would first validate reports if these teachers have indeed committed administrative violation, if any, for their refusal to serve the barangay elections in the province.
Umali said they would also ask the teachers to explain why they refused to do their assignment, as mandated by the law.
“We are looking into this report as we need to get our teachers’ reasons why they were not able to serve as board of election tellers,” the DepEd official said in a text interview.
“We will study and evaluate the matter carefully and will then act accordingly once everything is validated,” he added.
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Tuesday asked the education department to file administrative charges against 956 teachers in Maguindanao for refusing to serve in the barangay polls in the province.
The teachers refused to serve in the barangay elections for security reasons, according to the poll body.
Comelec chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. said the teachers will be sanctioned for their actions once found that they were just making (lame) excuses not to serve in the barangay elections.
Teachers’ group Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) has said that the Comelec should pursue cases against those who are involved in vote buying, rampant electoral fraud and other violations of elections laws instead of prosecuting teachers who sacrifice their lives for other people and the whole community.
“If ever there are those who may be liable, it is the Comelec that is not doing its mandate to curve traditional politics and is incapable of implementing election laws like gun ban,” Benjo Basas, the group’s national chairman, told this reporter when sought for comment.
Basas said the government must also recognize the realities of our political system, especially in areas like Maguindanao that is traditionally governed by warring clans, warlordism and dynasties.
“These expose our teachers to dangers of all sorts, and government in the past, until very recently has proven its incapability in protecting them and the whole electoral process, as well. We cannot blame the teachers who experienced violence in the past to refuse another assignment,” he added. NEIL A. ALCOBER