By Mark L. Garcia
Bacolod City–The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has directed 12 Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) candidates in last May’s elections to submit an explanation after they were found to be overaged.
An order dated May 15, signed by acting Clerk of the Commission, Abigail Justine Cuaresma-Lilagan, directs the election officer of Bacolod to serve the copy of the order to the 12 candidates that include five winning SK kagawads: Ramel Escaten of Barangay 11, Eugene Mallorca of Barangay 25, Noli Sanchez of Barangay Felisa, Sherlyn Latoza of Barangay 26 and Kim Maiko Lim of Barangay 37.
Bacolod Election Officer Mavil Majarucon-Sia said she reported 14 overaged SK candidates to the Legal Department, but two have since withdrawn.
Majarucon-Sia said all the 12 candidates are all being required by either the Comelec First or Second Divisions to reply to the cases filed against them by the law department within three days from receipt of the order.
She said if they do not answer and if their certificates of candidacy (COC) are cancelled, they cannot assume office on June 30.
Even those who did not win also have to answer the case filed against them because it might entail legal implications like criminal liability, she added.
Majarucon-Sia said Comelec filed the petitions against overaged SK candidates on May 13. They received only recently the order directing the SK candidates to file their answers.
She said the candidates had insisted before the elections that they are qualified to run because the law states that the age for an SK candidate is 18 to 24 years old. They argue they are still 24 years old because they had not yet reached 25 years old.
Majarucon-Sia said they should personally file their answer before the Comelec First or Second Divisions in Manila.