MANILA, Philippines - The Commission on Elections (Comelec) could have prevented confusion if it had disqualified multi-termers prior to the barangay elections, Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo said Tuesday.
In an interview with radio dzMM, Robredo said his office gave the poll body a list of the names of barangay multi-termers last September 24, a full month before the barangay elections.
“Ito ay dahil nais namin na pigilan na sana sila sa pagfa-file pa lang [certificate of candidacy],” he said.
It was only a few days before the elections that the poll body issued Resolution 9077, which disqualified more than 4,000 candidates found to have served more than 3 terms.
Based on a legal opinion dated May 23, 2009, the Department of Interior and Local Government said no barangay official shall serve more than 3 consecutive terms in the same position.
Robredo explained that suspension will not interrupt this requirement.
He said the letter was sent and received by the Office of the Chairman. “Siguro maraming pinagkakaabalahan,” he said.
Nonetheless, the letter should have been given importance by the receiving officer, he said.
What Comelec did was to forward the names to the election officers, who in turn placed asterisks next to the names of the suspected multi-termers.
If a multiple termer wins, his or her proclamation will be suspended pending the resolution of his or her disqualification case. The case will still undergo a process.
“In-anticipate na namin yan, kaya nga ang ginawa namin ay nag-submit kami kaagad,” Robredo said.
He agreed that a vote may have gone to waste because of this.
In case a multi-termer wins but is disqualified, the candidate who garnered the 2nd highest number of votes will take the position.