CABANATUAN City -- At least nine of 89 barangay chairmen, including the president of the Association of Barangay Chairmen in this city, will be investigated by the Commission on Elections for alleged electioneering during the last May elections.
Comelec provincial elections supervisor Atty. Panfilo Doctor Jr. said the nine barangay officials are facing charges of electioneering for allegedly campaigning for reelected Mayor Julius Cesar Vergara and his ticket in violation of the law.
Doctor said he has ordered the holding of preliminary hearing on the election offenses on October 14 against San Isidro Barangay Chairman Sergio Tadeo, ABC president and eight others.
Aside from Tadeo, also facing charges are Barangay Chairmen Joey Tucay of Calawagan, Eduardo Puyat of Cruz Roja, Pablito Santiago of Kalikid Sur, Antonio Carlos of Lagare, Christopher Lee of Pagas, Cenon Sagun Jr. of Sangitan Este, Jocelyn Sarmiento of Imelda and Mirasol Capinpin of Mabini Extension.
The nine are all allies of Vergara who won over former councilor and Bgy. Barlis Chairman Ramon Garcia.
The two separate complaints were filed before the Comelec by Garcia in his capacity as chairman of the Cabanatuan chapter of the Unang Sigaw Partido ng Pagbabago and his running mate Vice Mayor Emmanuel Antonio Umali who won over Vergara’s running mate Dr. Susan Garcia.
Umali’s complaints named as respondents Tadeo, Tucay, Sagun and Sarmiento while Garcia’s complaints charged Puyat, Santiago, Carlos, Lee and Capinpin.
Doctor has ordered Umali and Garcia to provide a copy of the video recording in compact disks (CDs) to the respondents.
In their complaint-affidavits, Garcia and Umali said the nine barangay chairmen, on separate occasions, endorsed to their barangay constituents the candidacy of Vergara’s ticket which has been documented in videotapes.
“The respondents, the complaint read, “with manifest partiality and giving undue advantage over the team of Vergara, willingly participated in the said political activity thus committing the offense of electioneering,” using their power and office to persuade and induce their constituents to vote for Vergara and the others.
The complainants said the acts of the nine respondents in endorsing Vergara’s group violate the provisions of the Omnibus Election Code as well as the joint circular of the Comelec and the Civil Service Commission (CSC) dated March 29, 2016 which prohibited barangay officials from engaging in electioneering or partisan political activities.