By Minka Klaudia Tiangco
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) en banc ruled to allow public school teachers who are members of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers-Philippines (ACT) party-list to serve as Electoral Boards (EBs) in the upcoming midterm polls.
In Comelec Resolution No. 19-0255, the poll body stated that public school teachers are preferred when appointing members of the EBs and membership in a party-list is not a ground for disqualification.
“The Commission has no basis to disqualify public school teachers who are members of the ACT party-list in serving as Electoral Boards for purposes of the 13 May 2019 National and Local Elections,” the resolution read.
This came after Mohammad Omar Albano Fajardo of the Tao Muna party-list filed a petition before the Comelec asking not to appoint public school teachers who are members of the ACT Teachers party-list because it is “unlawful” and “could case undue advantage and influence in favor” of their party-list.
“ACT is an alliance of teachers claiming to represent, assist, and defend teachers and other education workers. Clearly, it is a political party under the party-list system. Under the Omnibus Election Code and civil service laws, public officers and employees are prohibited from engaging in partisan political activity. Thus, mere membership in ACT would amount to this prohibition,” Fajardo’s petition read.
“BEI members who are also members of ACT could cause undue advantage and influence in favor of their ACT party-list to the disadvantage of other party-lists or other candidates running in the upcoming elections whose campaign platforms or public pronouncements may be perceived as antagonistic to the ACT’s advocacies or cause,” it added.
The Comelec said in its resolution that, although Fajardo’s allegations hold no basis as of now, election violators will receive administrative penalties after due notice and hearing.
“Comelec Resolution No. 10460, particularly Section 84 (Administrative Sanctions), shall be strictly enforced in case they engage in partisan political activity while serving as Electoral Boards,” the election commission’s resolution read.