The filing of certificates of candidacy for the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections has been rescheduled from July to August, Commission on Elections chairman George Garcia has announced.
In an online forum, Garcia said the filing for the BSKE elections had been moved from July 3 to 7 to August 28 to September 2.
"We approved just this morning, during our en banc session, the change of the date of the filing of the COC," said Garcia during a webinar of the UP Alumni Association and the Vinzons Policy Center (VPC) on enhancing the country’s readiness for clean and honest future elections.
"This is to ensure the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) and the PNP (Philippine National Police) will be most prepared, especially because of the violence we have right now dito sa ating mga local officials," he added.
The development came a day after Senator Francis Tolentino said he asked the poll body to delay the COC filing as conducting it in July would only “burden the local government units (LGUs)” due to election-related restrictions under the Omnibus Election Code.
Tolentino said it was “only just and fair” to adjust the filing period given the BSKE would be held during the last week of October 2023 and that the law prescribed a 10-day campaign period.
Unlike the national elections, Garcia said those who file their COCs during the prescribed period would be considered candidates and are subject to the Omnibus Election Code.
“Dito sa BSKE, we saw an opportunity. We told them ‘let them go to the courts’ because we will consider them, upon the filing of their candidacies, already as candidates. Therefore, they will be liable under Section 18 of the Omnibus Election Code for premature campaigning….We will disqualify them, we will file election offenses against these candidates,” he added.
Tolentino lauded the rescheduling of the filing period, saying it would help the LGU perform well and would ease election-related violence since “it will lessen early politicking.”
“The poll body’s decision will allow our local government units to perform their respective functions without any compromise or restrictions—construction ban, etc.,” he said.
The BSKE has been repeatedly postponed since 2016. In October 2022, President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. signed the law moving the December 2022 BSKE to the last Monday of October 2023. —NB/VBL, GMA Integrated News