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Comelec wants one-week transition for winning bets

MANILA, Philippines — Winning candidates in Monday’s barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections (BSKE) may not be able to immediately assume their posts after the Commission on Elections (Comelec) requested the Department of the Interior Local Government (DILG) to allow at least a week’s transition.

Comelec Chairman George Garcia said he requested the DILG for a transition period for the newly elected barangay and SK officials from the incumbents.

“Although the DILG will forgo the requirement for winning bets to submit SOCE before assumption to office, there must be a proper turnover to avoid problems,” Garcia explained, referring to the Statement of Contribution and Expenditures.

“Even if the Supreme Court said winners can already assume tomorrow, we hope there’s a one-week transition because of monetary accountabilities. There may be something missing and the new winners may be blamed,” he added.

Garcia said the DILG agreed to Comelec’s request and will issue a memorandum concerning the matter.

But Garcia stressed that all candidates, including those who lost in the elections, are still required to submit the SOCE by Nov. 29.

He said winning candidates must secure certification from the Comelec that they submitted the SOCE, and even those who withdrew from the elections are still mandated to submit the document.

Comelec spokesman John Rex Laudiangco said winning candidates with pending disqualification cases will not be proclaimed. He said the Comelec has so far filed disqualification cases against 220 BSKE candidates for premature and illegal campaigning.

Comelec also filed disqualification complaints against 27 other candidates for vote buying. Yesterday, the Comelec filed disqualification cases against 60 more BSKE candidates for premature and illegal campaigning.

Only minor hitches were observed during the BSKE, according to election watch group Legal Network for Truthful Elections (LENTE), which deployed a thousand volunteers as early as 4 a.m.

LENTE volunteers observed that some voters in Naga had to walk to polling precincts because roads were closed. There were also missing names in voters’ lists, and long queues in the early voting.

In general, LENTE