Over 500 bets in May polls running unopposed

MANILA � More than 500 candidates for local positions are running unopposed in the May 13 mid-term elections.

Data from the Commission on Elections (Comelec) showed there are 547 bets for next month's polls that have no opponents for the positions they are vying for.

The number includes 46 candidates for member of the House of Representatives, nine gubernatorial bets, 18 vice gubernatorial candidates, 211 city/municipal mayoral aspirants and 263 candidates for city/municipal vice mayor.

On the other hand, 211 candidates are from administration party, Partido Demokratiko Pilipino�Lakas ng Bayan (PDP�Laban), are running unopposed.

In the 2016 polls, there were a total of 545 aspirants that participated in the polls without opponents.

These include 39 congressmen, 14 governor, 14 vice governor, 222 mayor, and 256 for vice mayor.

Comelec spokesman James Jimenez noted that unopposed bets cannot automatically be proclaimed winners.

We are a first-past-the-post system. Meaning, you have to get the most number of votes cast in an election. Thus, theoretically, if no votes are cast, even an unopposed candidate will have no basis for winning, he said in an earlier interview.

Meanwhile, an election lawyer on Monday asked the poll body to come out with a statement on barangay officials who are supporting candidates in the forthcoming elections.

May I respectfully request the Honorable Commission to issue an official clarification and/or instruction to your officials and personnel that, based on existing laws and jurisprudence, barangay officials are not prohibited from engaging in partisan political activity or from campaigning for or against any candidate in the May 13 elections, opposition senatorial bet Romulo Macalintal said in a letter submitted to the poll body.

I am sure that this issue had already reached the attention of this honorable commission but you have not yet issued any official statement in relation thereto, he added.

The election lawyer noted that the request was made after incumbent barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan officials have consulted him on whether they can endorse candidates or not.

Village and youth officials were supposedly told by local Comelec personnel or by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) that they should remain non-partisan during elections.

Macalintal noted Section 2(4), Article IX-B of the 1987 Constitution as well as the decision of the Supreme Court in the Quinto vs Comelec case back in February 2010 provides that such a ban "does not cover elected officials notwithstanding the fact that the civil service embraces all branches and agencies of the government.

Earlier, the DILG asked the poll body to look into the supposed partisan political activities by some 52 elected barangay officials.

The letter was supported by former Comelec chair Sixto Brillantes and lawyer George Garcia. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency