The Commission on Elections (Comelec) announced that the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) would be conducted in Negros Oriental despite calls for postponement due to the recent political violence in the province.
The poll body said the province would be under its control during the election period.
In a press conference, Comelec chairman George Garcia said most of the stakeholders consulted were in favor of pushing through with the election.
“Gusto ko ang i-announce patungkol sa Negros Oriental, tuloy ang eleksyon sa October 30, pero ilalagay namin sa Comelec control ang buong probinsya … Batay po sa nakalap namin na papeles, dokumento, ebidensiya, napatunayan po naming overwhelmingly na ang gusto ng ating mga kababayan du’n [na] tumuloy ang eleksyon sa October 30,” Garcia said.
Calls to suspend or postpone the barangay elections in Negros Oriental were first made following the March 4 bloodbath that killed Governor Roel Degamo and nine others.
More incidents of harassment and violence in the province were also revealed during the Senate panel’s investigation into the Degamo slay last April, prompting suggestions from senators that included postponement as well as placing Negros Oriental under military or Comelec control.
In June, Comelec went to the province to hold public consultations on the proposal.
Meanwhile, the Comelec also signed a memorandum of agreement with the Department of Education and Public Attorney’s Office to provide legal assistance to teachers serving during the election in case they are slapped with complaints.
“‘Yung legal assistance siyempre, lagi kasi sila pina-filan ng kaso, kinakailangan they are properly represented by counsel,” Garcia said. (ABS-CBN News)