The 2023 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) in Negros Oriental will proceed on October 30, despite the appeals for its postponement due to the reported political violence in the province, Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairperson George Garcia announced Monday.
Garcia, however, pointed out that the entire province will be placed under the control of the Comelec, and necessary guidelines on how this will be implemented will be released soon.
“Patungkol sa Negros Oriental, ang Comelec en banc ay nag-desisyon unanimously—tuloy ang eleksyon sa October 30, pero ilalagay namin sa Comelec control ang buong probinsya,” the poll chairman said at a press conference.
(Regarding Negros Oriental, the Comelec en banc decided unanimously that the elections will continue on October 30, but we will put the entire province under Comelec control.)
“Minarapat ng inyong Comelec na ituloy ito sapagkat base sa nakalap namin na mga papeles, dokumento, ebidensya mula sa lugar kung saan nagkaron ng tatlong araw na pagdinig ang Comelec, napatunayan namin overwhelmingly, na talaga namang gusto ng kababayan natin doon na tumuloy ang eleksyon sa October 30,” he added.
(The Comelec decided to push through with this because based on the papers, documents, and evidence we gathered from the place where the Comelec held a three-day hearing, we found out that people overwhelmingly want the election to continue on October 30.)
Garcia said both the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) wanted the same.
Pamplona Mayor Janice Degamo and eight other mayors from Negros Oriental earlier appealed to the Comelec to postpone the BSKE in the province, citing peace and order concerns.
During a Senate inquiry into the killing of Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo, several senators also asked the poll body to look into the possibility of holding off the elections amid the political violence in the province.
The Comelec then announced that public hearings will be conducted in Negros Oriental to assess its current situation, particularly its peace and order status, in order to determine whether or not the BSKE should be postponed in the province.
Negros Oriental Roel Degamo and five others were killed when armed men fired shots while the official was distributing aid at his residence in Pamplona, Negros Oriental on March 4.
To date, the death toll has climbed to 10.
Teves has denied that he and his brother Henry were involved in Degamo’s killing. — RSJ, GMA Integrated News