Cheating allegations mar national councilors’ league election

What’s at stake? Shortly after every election, local officials form their respective leagues according to position, from barangay chairperson to provincial governors. They then elect municipal or city chapter officers, then provincial officers, then national officers.  

Whoever is elected president in a chapter gets an ex-officio seat in the local legislative body of the next higher level of local government, except in the case of independent cities. The president of a municipal councilors’ league, for example, will have a seat in the provincial board.  

The PCL – like any league representing a particular local position – serves as a lobbying arm for additional powers, funds, programs, and trainings for its members. It also provides the national government, candidates for national elections, and even international institutions a network where they can present and push their agenda, inevitably turning the league officers into power brokers. 

What the DILG has to say: The DILG, through its spokesperson Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya, said on Friday, February 28, it would await the PCL national board’s announcement of a new date after the failure of election due to “technical issues.”  

As a member of the league’s election commission, the DILG reiterated that it’s “committed to the conduct of a free and honest election for the incoming set of PCL national officers.”

This was what happened, according to the DILG:  

The scheduled election yesterday (February 27) followed the protocol and opened on time but was faced with delays attributed to the failure of Converge IT Solutions, the contracted systems provider, to deliver a fully functioning automated election system.

Dry runs were conducted to ensure the efficiency of the vote-counting machines but subsequent concerns persisted such as vote duplication of certain registered voters, and issues on the connectivity of majority of the voting terminals. There were also various concerns on the provided voting terminals limiting the access of persons with disabilities, and even persons of poor eyesight.