|All set for elections. Posters festoon an area outside a polling precinct in Manila ahead of today’s village elections. (Bottom left), Manila policemen are shown being briefed by a superior for their deployment, while at far right public school teachers carry ballot boxes and other election materials in Davao City for today’s elections. Ey Acasio and Rene B. Maliwanag|
PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III will lead 54 million Filipinos in casting their votes in today’s village elections in which 336,224 positions will be contested by 809,136 candidates.
A total of 94,124 candidates are running for village captain while 715,012 are running for village councilor.
Speaking over Radyo ng Bayan, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma said the President will go to his polling precinct in Tarlac early Monday morning and “wherever he may proceed, he can always closely monitor the barangay elections.”
“Like what he has been used to, and like what he did in the last 2013 midterm elections in May, the President will vote in his district in the province of Tarlac … and he will join those going early to the precinct,” Coloma said.
He made his statement even as the National Police said it had recorded 51 cases of election-related violence in which 22 people were killed—including eight village councilmen—while 24 more were injured since the election period started on Sept. 28.
Police said armed men abducted a village chairman running for re-election in Tandung Ahas village in Lamitan City, Basilan, on Sunday morning.
National Police spokesman Wilben Mayor said at least 452 firearms, 69 grenades, 289 explosives and 3,870 pieces of ammunition had been confiscated from gun-ban violators.
The Armed Forces and the National Police on Sunday deployed more soldiers and policemen into the 6,200 critical election areas and canceled all leaves following a red alert issued for the elections.
Supreme Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez said judges and clerks of Court had been required to report for work today to resolve election-related cases that might arise in connection with the village elections.
The Commission on Elections expects an 80-percent voter turnout, or over 43 million out of the 53 million registered voters.
Comelec spokesman James Jimenez urged the voters to use the ball pens to be provided inside the precinct instead of pencils, and to write down the complete names of the candidates they would be voting for.
The voting starts at 7 am and ends at 3 pm.
Coloma said Aquino had been exhorting everyone to vote early and to ensure that the elections would boost the country’s initiatives for good governance.
Coloma said that since the village was the basic institution of the society, Coloma every citizen was responsible for the results of the village elections.
He said good governance started with the selection of good village leaders—the chairman and the councilors.
“Let us ensure that those to be elected barangay chairmen and councilors are capable of moving the people’s welfare and that they can be entrusted to take care of the integrity of government funds,” Coloma said.
“Our journey to the righteous path begins in the barangay. In every family and home that comprises a barangay, the values for truth, reason and justice are being forged. The goals and dreams of every citizen for a bright future commences in a barangay.” With Florante S. Solmerin and Rey E. Requejo