Barangay poll candidates seek Osmeña’s blessing
Despite the reminder from the Commission on Elections (Comelec) for barangay candidates to be nonpartisan, aspiring candidates who identify themselves as members of Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK) from four barangays walked into Cebu City Hall on Wednesday to seek the blessing of Mayor Tomas Osmeña.
They come from barangays Buhisan, Bulacao, Sawang Calero and Tejero.
Osmeña said that he gave the aspiring candidates some tips and words of encouragement before they file their Certificates of Candidacy (COC) on April 14.
Under the existing election code for the barangay polls, candidates are prohibited to identify themselves or to be identified as representatives of any political party.
The election code also prohibits any political organization to intervene in deciding who will be running for barangay office.
However, Cebu City South District Comelec officer lawyer Marchel Sarno clarified that they are not prohibiting candidates to affiliate themselves with political groups.
“Ang amo [nga policy] kay nonpartisan. Dili sila kinahanglan og certificate of nomination sa partido. Naa ra nila kung ganahan sila mag-grupo pero in the eyes of the law, wala silay partido,” said Sarno.
(Our policy is nonpartisanship. They don’t need a certificate of nomination from parties. It is up to them if they would form groups but in the eyes of the law, they shouldn’t have a party.)
Sarno explained that unlike when they are recognized under a party, barangay candidates are not given the option to be substituted by other members of the party in the polls.
“Sa party, kung pananglitan mamatay, pwede man magsubstitute ang party. Pero kung nonpartisan kay di sya pwede magpa-substitute,” he said.
(In political parties, if a candidate dies for example, the party can opt for a substitution. But in nonpartisanship, nobody can substitute a candidate.)
City Office for Substance Abuse Prevention (Cosap) head Garry Lao, who is also a former barangay councilman, said that although nonpartisanship is supposedly a must in the barangay polls, a lot of candidates still want to be identified as an affiliate of the administration.
Lao urged the aspiring candidates to cooperate with the administration regardless of the party that they belong to.
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