An election lawyer has said that the election period for the October 31, 2016 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) polls is still in effect even as the Commission on Elections (Comelec) has already suspended all the activities in connection with the scheduled polls.
According to Romulo Macalintal, the election period, which started on September 16 and will run until October 30, is not suspended since no law has been approved officially postponing the polls slated next month.
“While the Comelec suspended all its ‘activities’ in connection with the scheduled October 31 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections, it cannot suspend the implementation of existing laws applicable during an election period on the basis of a non-existing law or just because there is a proposed law to postpone the said election,” he said in a statement.
Macalintal noted that the poll body had suspended all the activities on the belief that the village and youth polls will be reset to October 2017.
“It should be noted that no law has yet been signed by President Duterte postponing the said elections. And yet Comelec took it upon itself to suspend said ‘activities’ on its mere belief that ‘recent developments lean towards the postponement’ of the election,” he said.
The lawyer added, “There being no law amending or repealing the existing law, what we have at present is Republic Act No. 9164, as amended, which mandates the election to be held on October 31. As such, the prohibited acts under the Omnibus Election Code during an election period still apply.”
With this, Macalintal said that during the “election period from September 16 to October 30, 2016, it is prohibited to appoint or hire new employees or create new positions in the government service as provided under Section 261(g) of the Omnibus Election Code and that the firearms ban will still be imposed effective October 1 to November 7, 2016, as provided under Section 261(h) of the same Code.”