Negros Oriental 3rd District Special Elections
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) announced the special election to fill the vacated seat of expelled Negros Oriental 3rd district Representative Arnolfo Teves Jr. will be on the second week of December.
“Special election in Negros Oriental is on Dec. 9, 2023,” Comelec chair George Garcia told reporters through Viber. Dec. 9 falls on a Saturday, with voting hours set from 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Aspiring candidates may file their certificate of candidacy (COC) from Nov. 6 to 8. The end of the COC filing will mark the start of the election period from Nov. 9 to Dec. 24 where a gun ban will also be implemented by the poll body. The official campaign period is from Nov. 9 and to Dec. 7.
Meanwhile, the release, disbursement, or expenditure of public funds, construction of public works, delivery of materials for public works and the appointment or hiring of new employees, creation of new positions, filling of new positions, promotion or granting of salary increases, remuneration or privileges will be prohibited from Nov. 9 to Dec. 8.
“Upon close of voting, the counting and canvassing of votes and proclamation of winning candidates will immediately follow,” Comelec said in a statement. The poll body has also set the last day of the filing of Statements of Contributions and Expenditures on Jan. 8, 2024.
300k registered voters for special elections in 3rd district
Based on Comelec data, Negros Oriental’s third legislative district has a total of 301,264 registered voters. The House of Representatives voted to expel Teves from the chamber last Aug. 16. Teves is accused of being the mastermind in the assassination of Negros Oriental governor Roel Degamo last March.
Security for Negros Oriental 3rd District Special Elections
The Comelec and government security forces are ready for the special elections in the 3rd congressional district of Negros Oriental on December 9, a poll official said Thursday.
Lawyer Eliseo Labaria, acting provincial election supervisor of Negros Oriental, told the Philippine News Agency that his office has received a copy of Resolution No. 10945, setting the calendar of activities for a special election in the 3rd district of Negros Oriental. “We are prepared because as of today, we will be utilizing the same security forces, the same rooms in the 3rd district, and maybe the same Board of Election Tellers who will be utilized during the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (BSK) polls,” Labaria said.
Comelec has set the special election to replace former Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr. who was expelled from the rolls of the House of Representatives over various reasons, including continued absence and indecent behavior.
Labaria said while both elections are only a little over a month in between, the provincial Joint Peace and Security Coordinating Center (JPSCC) has initially discussed certain procedural matters and other concerns. He added that they are also waiting for further instructions on the delivery of paraphernalia, supplies, and ballots for the special elections, he said.
The teachers serving in the Dec. 9 elections may have to undergo additional training such as on the canvassing of votes at the municipal and provincial level.
Enough government troops in Negros Oriental
Meanwhile, Labaria said the JPSCC will be meeting soon to review the current security contingency plan for the BSKE as there may be changes or improvements specifically for the 3rd district of Negros Oriental.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Philippine National Police, and the Philippine Coast Guard are part of the JPSCC and are deputized by the Comelec during the elections. Maj. Gen. Marion Sison, commander of the Philippine Army’s 3rd Infantry Division, whose area of coverage includes Panay Island and Central Visayas provinces, said they are always prepared for any scenario.
While there are enough government troops in Negros Oriental, Sison said they are ready to send more when necessary “to ensure the safety of the people, to protect the sanctity of the ballot, and guarantee a peaceful, orderly and credible elections”.