Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman George Garcia on Friday clarified that they will not pursue criminal charges against teachers who backed out of election duty at the last minute, but only against individuals who allegedly harassed them.
“We are not inclined to file appropriate criminal cases against our teachers, but definitely in the next few weeks or months, makikita niyo ang aking (You will see my) seriousness that we will be filing cases against those who have threatened or caused violence against our teachers, and against our personnel, and Comelec officials and employees,” Garcia said in a press conference.
Garcia said that they are not inclined to file criminal charges against teachers because they will serve again in future elections.
“Napakabigat kasi ng criminal na cases, na ito na nga lang ang binigay mong honoraria, tinakot pa sila, hanggang ngayon maaring tinatakot pa sila, tapos kakasuhan pa namin. Ang dapat kasuhan ‘yung nananakot. Bakit ‘yung tinatakot ang kakasuhan, ‘di ba?” he said.
(Filing a criminal case is too much. They only get a small amount despite being abused and threatened. Cases should instead be filed against those who threatened them.)
Despite this, Garcia said the teachers should give them justifiable reasons for their last-minute withdrawal as it compromised the conduct of the elections.
For the administrative cases, the Comelec chief said its filing would depend on the agency that they belong in.
“’Yung administrative [cases], wala kaming magawa don kasi ‘yung administrative talaga isang infraction– malfeasance, misfeasance…ng empleyado ng isang ahensya,” he said.
(We cannot do anything about the administrative cases because those involve malfeasance and misfeasance of an employee of a government agency.)
For the police officers who supposedly begged off in taking over the duties of teachers who backed out from their election duties, Garcia said they will report to the PNP headquarters so an appropriate administrative process can be initiated against them.
Last Tuesday, Garcia vowed to file criminal and administrative charges against teachers and police officers who supposedly delayed the 2023 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) by backing out of election duty at the last minute.
Garcia said that around 2,530 teachers backed out of their voluntary election day service in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM). —VAL, GMA Integrated News