Comelec: BSKE candidates can voluntarily give drug test results
Though the Commission on Elections (Comelec) cannot mandate candidates in the 2023 barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections (BSKE) to undergo drug tests, candidates may voluntarily give their test results to the poll body, its spokesperson said Friday.
This came after Interior and Local Government Secretary Benhur Abalos challenged candidates to undergo a drug test.
“Wala naman po makakapigil sa ating mga kandidato na kung mismong sila, boluntaryo po, na ipapakita, ibibigay sa Comelec ‘yung kanilang negative drug testing certificate,” Comelec spokesperson John Rex Laudiangco said in the public briefing.
(Nothing can stop our candidates if they themselves voluntarily present and give their negative drug testing certificate to Comelec.)
“Sa tingin ko makakatulong din po ito sa kanila, basta po boluntaryo itong ginagawa,” he added.
(I think this will also help them, as long as it is voluntary.)
According to Laudiangco, the Supreme Court previously ruled that the poll body cannot add requirements other than those stated in the Constitution.
Ready for BSKE
Meanwhile, the spokesperson said that they are completely ready for the BSKE.
“Ang atin pong 92 million na balota ay naimprenta na kasama po ang lahat na gagamiting election returns, statement of votes, at iba pa. At ito po ay naka impake na,” Laudiangco said.
(The 92 million ballots have been printed, including the election returns, statement of votes, and others.)
“Ang tangi na lamang po namin gagawin… siguro isang buwan bago po ang halalan ay ite-tarining natin ang ating mga guro at iba pang miyembro ng electoral boards,” he added.
(The only thing left to do, maybe a month before the elections, is train our teachers and other members of the electoral boards.)
According to Laudiangco, Comelec has created a committee against vote buying.
They are in coordination with other agencies such as the National Bureau of Investigation, the Philippine National Police, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, and the Public Attorney’s Office.
Meanwhile, he said Comelec will also implement early voting hours for vulnerable sectors, senior citizens, persons with disabilities, pregnant women, and other members of the Indigenous People.
Laudiangco said they have also talked to almost 20 malls where they can place voting centers.
“Halos 20 po sila sa buong bansa na doon po natin kakayanin nilang magtayo, magtayo kami doon ng ating voting center at yung malalapit na barangay sa paligid ng malls na ito ang siyang makikinabang at makakaboto po dito,” he said.
(We are eyeing to place voting centers in 20 malls nationwide, which can benefit communities living in those areas.) —Joahna Lei Casilao/ VAL, GMA Integrated News