By Leslie Ann Aquino
The election period in connection with the October 23, 2017 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections starts Sunday, October 1.
And with the start of the election period, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) reminded the public of election-related prohibitions which include the gun ban.
Prohibited acts from Oct. 1 to 30 (election period) are the alteration of territory of a precinct or establishment of a new precinct; the carrying, bearing and transport of firearms and other deadly weapons, unless authorized by the Commission; the use of security personnel or bodyguards by candidates, unless authorized by the Commission; coercing, threatening, intimidating or terrorizing any election official or employee in the performance of his/her election functions or duties; the transfer or detail of officers and employees in the civil service including public school teachers; and organizing or maintaining reaction forces, strike forces or similar forces and suspension of any elective provincial, city, municipal or barangay officers.
In a statement, Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said violations to the prohibited acts constitute an election offense which carries with it a punishment of one to six years imprisonment, disqualification to hold public office and deprivation of the right to suffrage.
The poll official also reminded the public that the start of the election period at 12:01 a.m. of Sunday, Oct. 1, checkpoints shall be established nationwide to effectively implement the firearms ban.
Comelec Resolution 10198, promulgated September 14, 2017, states that there shall be at least one Comelec checkpoint in each city/municipality.
However, Comelec said additional checkpoints, including those coming from other PNP/AFP commands outside the city/municipality, shall be established in coordination with the election officer (EO) having jurisdiction over the city/municipality.
It was on September 19 when the Comelec rescheduled the activities for the village and youth polls to give the public more time to prepare for participation in the upcoming polls should the elections not be postponed.
Based on the revised calendar, the filing of certificates of candidacy will commence on Oct. 5 and will end on Oct. 11.