April 18, 2024

■  Rimaliza A. Opiña 

Did officials of Baguio intervene in the recently concluded election of officials of the Sangguniang Kabataan Federation elections?

This is what the city council want to find out when it tasked on Nov. 20 the committee on ethics, governmental affairs and personnel to investigate electioneering involving city officials of Baguio.

Reacting over the blind items published by the Midland Courier and comments on social media, Councilor Arthur Allad-iw proposed the creation of a team led by the committee to investigate the allegations to clear the name of the city council as an institution.

In a later interview, Allad-iw said while the allegations did not specifically mention the name of the official or officials involved, this still needs to be clarified for all of them has become suspect.

“While it is true that any official has the right to support a candidate, it should not violate the Election Code,” Allad-iw said, confirming that they, too, have heard information about the supposed distribution of cash gifts and assembling the SK chairs in an accommodation facility where they were instructed on whom to vote for.

“We are not saying that it’s true; kung wala, at least cleared kami,” Allad-iw said.

If the committee finds truth in the allegations, it was tasked to submit its recommendations for ratification of the city council.

Electioneering committed by officials of the government is one of the prohibited acts enumerated in the Omnibus Election Code and by the Civil Service Commission.

Any person found guilty of any election offense under the Election Code shall be punished with imprisonment of not less than one year but not more than six years and shall not be subject to probation.

In addition, the guilty party shall be sentenced to suffer disqualification to hold public office and deprivation of the right of suffrage.

The committee on ethics is headed by Councilor Fred Bagbagen.