• Don’t defer barangay elections yet again

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    It seems the barangay elections will take place in October after all, with President Aquino turning down suggestions that the exercise be postponed yet again.

    It was Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. who made the suggestion. We understand his reluctance to hold the polls. We have just emerged from a bruising political exercise, where we elected senators, congressmen, governors and board members, mayors and councilors. The number of candidates, great as they may be, pale in comparison with that of those who will vie for the positions at stake in the barangay elections.

    There are more than 42,000 barangays. Each of these barangays will have to elect a barangay captain and a number of kagawads. Don’t forget the Kabataang Barangay chair and members of the Sanguniang Kabataan that must be elected at the same time.

    For each position, there may be five or more candidates. Ballots will have to be printed containing their names and distributed in every barangay. The administrative requirement is great, to say the least.

    The elections are supposed to be non-partisan, but they are fought with as much viciousness as those held at the town or city, provincial, and national levels. That’s because, despite the barangays supposed non-partisan nature, the mayors under whom officials of these political units serve try to ensure that only their chosen bets win.

    Naturally, those who plan to run in the next mayoralty race get their own candidates into the fray. No wonder, blood is sometimes spilt.

    As noted, there will be tens of thousands of candidates who would vie for the positions.

    That is a daunting prospect. But for once President Aquino is right. A government official’s mandate is of utmost importance. We must ensure that those who hold elective positions continue to enjoy the support of the people, and the only way to find out is to subject them to election, after the expiration of their prescribed term of office.

    So the barangay elections must be held as scheduled, and the Comelec should prepare itself accordingly.

    Mr. Brillanes will oversee an election once more. The recently concluded mid-term elections were marred by vote-buying and possibly electronic cheating on a massive scale.

    The opposition claimed the cheating occurred because of incompetence, if not outright corruption. Of course, the chairman vehemently denied it, but as people say there is fire where there is smoke.

    It is hoped that the poll body and its chairman would acquit themselves well in October.

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