Filing of candidacy for barangay, SK elections starts Sept. 23

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 7) — Preparations for the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections are underway as election officials announce filing of candidacies from Sept. 23 to 30, 2017.

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) said the Certificates of Candidacy must be "filed at the Office of the Election Officer of the city, municipality or district where the aspirant seeks to be elected."

Guidelines were released in a statement dated Sept. 5. A copy was obtained Thursday.

 

The campaign period for the barangay and SK elections will run from Oct. 13 to 21, 2017, the Comelec said.

One Punong Barangay (barangay captain) and seven members of the Sangguniang Barangay, as well as one Chairperson and seven members of the SK will be elected in each barangay.

There are over 42,000 barangays throughout the Philippines.

The poll body reiterated that from the period of Sept. 23 until Oct. 30, "the carrying of firearms and other deadly weapons; use of security personnel or body guards by candidates; transfer or detail of officers and employees in the civil service including public school teachers; suspension of any elective provincial, city, municipal or Barangay officer are prohibited."

However, the Comelec, in a separate Sept. 5 resolution, moved to postpone the barangay and SK elections in Mindanao, which was placed under martial law on May 23 after members of the Maute terrorist group attacked Marawi City.

 

Martial law is imposed in Mindanao until the end of the year.

"The Commission is well aware that free, orderly, honest, peaceful, and credible elections is the standard by which elections should be conducted and administered," the poll body said in its decision. "Any less than that is a derogation of the Commission's constitutional duty," it said.

Another postponement?

The barangay and SK elections were originally scheduled for Oct. 31, 2016, but were moved to Oct. 23, 2017 after President Rodrigo Duterte said he wanted the polls deferred because of possible drug money funding the local politicians' campaigns.

Read: Duterte signs law postponing SK, barangay polls – PCO

Of the 42,000 barangays, around 20,000 are still considered tainted by illegal drugs, according to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency.

Duterte also said in December 2016 that dozens of barangay officials were on the "narco-list," which contains personalities allegedly connected to the illegal drug trade.

Read: Duterte inclined to postpone barangay polls to avert narco-politics

The Comelec statement on the filing of certificates of candidacy came even as Congress considers postponing the local elections once again to May 2018.

Read: House panel postpones barangay, SK polls anew

Meanwhile, Senate Bill 1469 and Senate Bill 1552, which propose to move the local polls to October 2018, are still pending.

The Comelec added that all incumbent officials will remain in office until they are suspended, removed, or replaced after the elections take place.