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Comelec disqualifies 21 BSKE bets for premature campaigning, vote buying

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 10) — The Commision on Election (Comelec) said on Friday that it disqualified 21 candidates in the 2023 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) on the ground of premature campaigning and vote buying.

The poll body said 12 were candidates for Sangguniang Kabataan members, five were barangay kagawad bets, two were running as SK chairperson and two were Barangay chairman candidates.

It added that 17 out 21 resolutions for disqualification were final and executory since the candidates missed the five-day period to file a motion of reconsideration.

These include the bets from Batangas, Tarlac, Pampanga, and Laguna.

“So these cases, some of those have certificates of finality and entries of judgment na and pwede na pong i-execute yan [can be executed already]," Clerk of Commission Genesis Gatdula said. «So they have to reconvene and proclaim the winning candidate upon guidance of the commission.»

Three candidates were able to file motions on time, while one can still file a plea.

These bets were from Manila, Maguindanao del Norte, Rizal and Quezon City.

For his part, Comelec Spokesperson Rex Laudiangco said the disqualification is proof of action on the 7,000 show cause orders and hundreds of cases filed by the poll body.

“Mayroon po talaga sa kanila na kahit nakakuha ng pinakamaraming boto ay hindi makakaupo dahil sa paglabag sa ating mga batas,” he added.

[Translation: There are bets who got the highest vote but they cannot be proclaimed since they violated the law.]

10 of the 21 disqualified bets won in the recently concluded BSKE.

However, the Commission en banc will still discuss who will be proclaimed instead of the disqualified bets, since the rule of succession does not automatically apply.

Laudianco said the poll body will take the guidance of the Commission en banc on who to proclaim instead following the disqualification of some candidates. He said the decision will be issued by the commission.

Premature campaigning and vote buying are violations of the Omnibus Election Code (OEC) and carries penalties of up to six years imprisonment, disqualification from holding public office and losing the