MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) announced on Tuesday the 38,452, or 91.49 percent, winners of Monday’s barangay elections of the country’s 42,028 barangays.

Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. said that except for 1,304 villages where the polls were cancelled, they expect all winners to be proclaimed today.

“As we promised, this will be a fast moving proclamation. So we expect to finish this all in the next 24 hours,” he said.

Meanwhile, Elections and Barangay Affairs Dept. Director Teopisto Elnas said that polls still have to be held in 1,109 barangays in Bohol province and 98 barangays in Zamboanga City on Nov. 25.

Comelec forced to postpone the village elections in Zamboanga City due to the destruction caused by the three-week gun battle between government forces and the Misuari faction of the Moro National Liberation Front.

The polls were also postponed in 97 barangays across the country, mostly in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) after teachers of the Board of Election Tellers (BET) refused to serve.

Today, the Comelec will hold elections in 26 barangays: Jiabong, Sta. Margarita and Gandara in Samar; seven barangays in Calayan Island, Cagayan; one in Balo-I, Lanao del Norte; six in Akbar, Ungkaya Pukan, and Tabuan Lasa in Basilan; and 12 in Buldon, Liong, and Parang in Maguindanao.

On Thursday, the barangay election will be held in five barangays of Calayan and on November 28, in 12 villages of Pikit, North Cotabato.

Vote buying

Regarding on the allegations of vote buying, Brillantes stressed that the Comelec cannot rely on “kuwento-kuwento lang” (mere talk).

He said that they need formal complaints to be filed and evidence submitted to act on reported incidents of vote-buying.

Brillantes however stated that most allegations of vote buying are raised by losing candidates and subsequently blown up by media.

“Maybe part of this problem on vote buying is kayo sa media. Lahat ng naririning niyong vote buying sinasabi niyo vote buying pero where is the evidence?” Brillantes asked.

“The source of thee news are actually mostly the losing candidates (who) themselves may have conducted vote buying. Mas mayaman nga lang ang kalaban nila,” he further said.

400 candidates face disqualifications

The Comelec said that the proclamation of winning candidates who failed to register as voters will be suspended.

“When our law department checked, we found out that a lot (of the candidates) are not registered voters,” Brillantes told Radyo Inquirer 990AM.

Around 90 candidates for village chief and over 300 for councilors were on the list of candidates who failed to register as voters.

“If they get the highest vote (in the village polls), we will suspend their proclamation and confirm if they are indeed not registered voters,” Brillantes said.

He also emphasized that only registered voters are qualified to run for public office.

“If they are not registered, we cannot proclaim them. A person who is not qualified may not win in the elections, Likewise, a person who is not qualified cannot be considered a candidate,” Brillantes added.

The Comelec also clarified that the candidate with the next highest number of votes will be proclaimed, once qualified.

The Comelec however admitted that they fail to weed out unregistered voters because of the short amount of time between the filing of the certificates of candidacy, which ended October 17, and the Election Day.

Before the new term starts on November 30, he assured the public that the Comelec would be able to decide on the individual cases.

More than 800,000 candidates ran for the 300,000 or so positions in all villages across the country. (Joan A. Peñaranda, ABCom/LNU)