Indeed Barangay elections have now become the show window of municipal, city, provincial and national elections in terms of the hotness of the contest in some places. So, it did not come to us as a surprise when the Police Regional Office (PRO) XI mobilized recently a 10,000 + strong contingent to be assigned in the whole of Southern Mindanao to ensure the security of voters and candidates as well as the fairness and integrity of the election process.
While so far nothing untoward has happened in the Davao Region, it is a totally different story in Cotabato City and other areas of the BARM region. In the former place alone two candidates for Barangay kagawads were gunned down while leading their supporters in posting campaign poster at a thickly populated Rosary Heights in Cotabato City. Several others were reported hurt in the shooting that was caught on camera
Earlier, in another barangay of Maguindanao del Sur an aspirant for barangay captain was also gunned down. In a Central Luzon Province another candidate for Barangay Captain was also shot dead just the other day. Weeks before there were reports of election-related violence in the Bicol Region that led the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) to declare that particular barangay as political “hot spot.”
On the other hand in Davao City we have noted that the campaign for the Office of Barangay Captains and Sanggunian members are getting more expensive. Imagine candidates representing a particular group kicking their drive with motorcades complete with sounds on board vehicles and utilizing pedicabs and single motorbikes bearing banners of the candidates endorsed by the team.
In fact, some poll bets are holding concerts complete with bands so people could be enticed to attend. How much will it cost to hire even a less-known band these days? On the average it is about P10 thousand for an 8-hour engagement depending on the distance of the barangay from where the band is based.
Then, to get the services of a sound system complete with lights, the client candidate will have to fork out from his or her pocket another P10 thousand on the minimum. If incidental expenses are to be added then meeting the mandated P3 expense cap per voter is one hell of a joke by the COMELEC.
This one is a tall order that the COMELEC is imposing for itself.
We mean the intention of the poll body to declare the winning candidates in the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) in 25 hours after the closing of the polling precincts.
We say it is a tall order because the BSKE voting and counting are manually done. Maybe it can be possible for candidates in barangays or villages with very small voting population and with less number of candidates. But in villages where the number of voters is huge and the election is hotly contested, we believe that the counting alone will take most of the time allotted for the post voting activities..
Of course nothing is lost when the people give the election agency the benefit of doubt. The poll body officials particularly in the Davao Region have made such commitment and it is for them to make good their promise whatever it takes for them to do.
What is the latest on the investigation on the disappearance of a housemaid of the family of the suspended police station commander of Toril?
We’ve heard that P/Maj. Michael Uyanguren who was relieved from his post is now at the PRO XI accountability unit where those facing internal probe are temporarily held pending the outcome of the investigation.
Have the members of the probe team or those charged to track down the missing house help already even just an iota of a clue as to her whereabouts?
We can only hope that the Davao City Police Office (DCPO) will not continue to maintain its silence on the status of the probe. If the police will not keep the public updated on the outcome of the investigation then we cannot help but toy with the idea that there might be efforts to dump the case into the drain for memories intended to be forgotten for obvious reasons.
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