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PIA Press Release

DILG reminds barangay bets to be non-partisan

by RG Alama

Davao City (22 October) -- The Department of Interior and Local Government has reminded bets for the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections to remain non-partisan, even though the DILG has admitted that the provision is hard to implement.

OIC Regional Director of DILG-XI Ananias Villacorta said that the problem with the rule on the non-partisanship of barangay elections is drawing the line between a partisan and non-partisan activity.

He said that it is easy to say that a particular candidate is running implicitly under a political party but the accusation is very hard to prove. Prosecuting an election offender for partisanship is hampered by lack of evidence.

Villacorta says the law only states that the candidate must not run under a political party. But the reality he says is that some barangay leaders were already politically identified during the recent May 2010 polls.

However he clarified that the barangay leader can be affiliated with a party during the previous elections. But during the barangay elections he must not be expressly identified as running under that political party. What must not be non-partisan are the barangay elections itself.

Another problem is the raising of hands of certain candidates by a local or national political leader, which can be construed as political endorsements.

However Villacorta said that there is no hard-and-fast rule on the raising of hands as the burden of proof that it is a political endorsement lies on the accuser. He said it is easy for the candidate or politician to deny that the raising of hand was for some political endorsement. "We do not know what is in the mind of either the candidate or the politician.

As to the part of the DILG, they are helping the Commission on Elections on information dissemination "We are trying to inform the public about the importance of the barangay elections." Villacorta said that the people deserve a fresh mandate among its leaders and this is the priority thrust of the new Aquino administration. (PIA XI) [top]

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