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Poll chief expects higher voter turnout, 'worse' violence at upcoming elections


Apart from a higher voter turnout in the nationwide barangay elections on October 28, Commission on Elections Chairman Sixto Brillantes, Jr. is also expecting higher incidents of election-related violence.

“We expect a bigger turnout [for this upcoming election]. Remember we already had a big turnout doon sa May [polls] natin, we reached 77 percent. Dito baka umabot ng 80 percent [ang voter turnout rate],” the poll chief told GMA News on the sidelines of the signing of a memorandum of agreement at GMA Network Center.

Still, Brillantes noted that election-related violence may also be on the rise. “We are preparing for a worse peace and order situation now because personalan and close-knit sila at kung nag-aaway sila parang barkada o magkakapitbahay lang ang nag-aaway.”

The nationwide barangay election is scheduled on October 28 where some 54 million voters are expected to vote.

Before the start of the campaign period on Thursday (October 18), the poll chief warned candidates not to resort to "epal" tactics.

“Nakita niyo ang dami nang nagdidikit [ng posters at tarpaulins]. Ang dami nang nagkakampanya. ‘Yan ‘yung premature campaigning. Ang dami nang epal candidates e, kaya galit na galit ako,” Brillantes said.

“Sabi ko sa kanila, you have to remove what you have posted because the campaign period starts only on Thursday, October 18. Hind pa campaign period ngayon. ‘Pag kandidato ka na, we’ll charge you with premature campaigning,” he added.

The Comelec chief also expressed dismay over the seemingly low public interest in the barangay polls. “Walang public interest kasi nga hindi napapag-usapan kasi natakpan ng mga issues na medyo malalaki [tulad ng] calamity, storm, earthquake at kung anu-anong mga pork. Otherwise, this should have been a major one kasi this is a nationwide activity.”

He added: “Importante talaga itong barangay elections. The barangay is the lowest unit of government. Importante ito dahil ito ang takbuhan ng tao and the barangay is the one taking care of your immediate problems.” — BM, GMA News