The Commission on Elections (Comelec) warned local officials they would file charges against those who threaten local poll officers removing campaign posters outside of the designated areas.
The poll body also warned those harassing Comelec officials serving show cause orders to Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Election (BSKE) candidates found violating election rules.
Poll chairman George Garcia issued the warning after receiving reports that local officials in Bulacan, Surigao, and Laguna provinces were interfering in the issuance of show cause orders and threatening local poll officers that they would be transferred to other places.
Garcia advised local Comelec personnel to ignore the threats and continue doing their job, saying only he has the authority to transfer or remove poll personnel and not local officials.
“The Comelec has sent almost 400 show cause orders BSKE candidates to explain why they should not be disqualified and or charged criminally,” he said.
“The threat made to them is they will be removed from their posts and transferred elsewhere. What transfer? I am the one who can transfer them and I will never transfer those who are doing their jobs well,” Garcia said.
Instead, the poll chief warned local officials to get back at them and will file cases for violations of the Omnibus Election Code, then Republic Act 6713, Ethical Standards for Government Officials and Employees, before the Ombudsman.
“We will also look into RA 3019 [Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act] because if you use your power to threaten other government agencies, I think that is abuse,” he said.
The Comelec consistently warned against early campaigning as the campaign period will only run from Oct. 19 to 28.
Garcia said all mediums for promoting candidates, both for traditional posters, paraphernalia and social media posts, are considered grounds for premature campaigning.