More than 500 barangays in the country have no candidates that will run for the 2023 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE), according to the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
Comelec Chairperson George Garcia also said that most of the barangays in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) have no candidates.
In a television interview, poll spokesman Rex Laudiangco said the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) would have jurisdiction over barangays without candidates.
“The DILG will instruct local government executives to appoint officials in areas that had no candidates,” Laudiangco said.
He said current barangay officials will remain as incumbents or the DILG may exercise its jurisdiction and appoint a caretaker for the vacant positions.
Meanwhile, the Comelec earlier said that more than half of the candidates in the BARMM are running unopposed in the barangay and SK elections this October.
BARMM Comelec director Ray Sumalipao said they have registered around 60,500 candidates vying for various positions in the barangay and youth councils in the region.
Approximately 60% of those who filed their certificates of candidacy are running unopposed, he said.
“Unopposed candidates will only need a single vote to win,” the Comelec official said.
The Comelec further said it will not allow barangays to conduct barangay assemblies.
According to Garcia, the DILG sought the opinion of the poll regulator with regard to the conduct of barangay assemblies ahead of the BSKE.
Under the Local Government Code, barangays are required to hold a barangay assembly every semester to keep their constituents abreast in the undertakings of the barangay government, especially on its spending.
However, Garcia said such activities may be considered premature campaigning, since campaign period starts on October 19 until October 28.
The Comelec, sitting en banc, has decided to prohibit the conduct of barangay assemblies, saying barangay assemblies may be used to bolster the candidacy of incumbent officials who are seeking another term.
“That’s what has been decided by the en banc, with all due respect to the DILG, that we will not allow the conduct of barangay assemblies nationwide,” the poll chief said.
Garcia believes it will make premature campaigning useless should they allow barangay assemblies.