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VERA FILES FACT CHECK: DepEd INACCURATELY says Comelec plans to file criminal charges vs teachers who quit election duties

The Department of Education welcomes the recent statement of the Commission on Elections that it will no longer pursue filing criminal charges against teachers for backing out of their Electoral Board duties during the 2023.

Sara Duterte 2023-11-04 Inaccurate

The Comelec did not make a definitive pronouncement on filing criminal charges against teachers who quit their electoral board duties.
What Comelec Chairman George Garcia said was that the poll body will be filing cases against those who have threatened or caused violence against the teachers and other election personnel.

Vice President Sara Duterte was quoted in a press release inaccurately stating that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) planned to file criminal charges against teachers who backed out of their duties in the Oct. 30 barangay polls. 

Duterte concurrently serves as secretary of the Department of Education (DepEd). 

STATEMENT

In a Nov. 4 press release, the DepEd said: 

“The [DepEd] welcomes the recent statement of the [Comelec] that it will no longer pursue filing criminal charges against teachers for backing out of their Electoral Board duties during the 2023 [BSKE].”

Source: DepEd official Facebook account, OFFICIAL STATEMENT (archive), Nov. 4, 2023

FACT

The Comelec did not make a definitive pronouncement on filing criminal charges against teachers who quit their electoral board duties. 

VERA FILES FACT CHECK: DepEd INACCURATELY says Comelec plans to file criminal charges vs teachers who quit election dutiesWhat Comelec Chairman George Garcia said was that “something must be done” about electoral board members who initially committed to serve but suddenly quit on or before election day. He said the poll body will see if it could be “through legislation or talks with DepEd or the Commission on Higher Education in Bangsamoro,” where most of the teachers had backed out of their poll duties.

Here are the statements of Comelec between Oct. 30 and Nov. 3 on the issue:

BACKSTORY

More than 2,500 teachers refused to serve in the BSKE in Bangsamoro, citing previous experiences of frequent intimidation and violence in the area. 

Garcia said the commission will file criminal cases against those found to have threatened or caused violence against the teachers, election officers and Comelec employees. 

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Sources 

Comelec Facebook Page, PRESS CONFERENCE, Oct. 30, 2023

GMA Integrated News, LIVESTREAM: Comelec Command Center press conference – 10/31/2023 – Replay, Oct. 31, 2023

Personal communication, Comelec Viber chat with the Media, Nov. 2, 2023 

Comelec Facebook Page, Presscon, Nov. 3, 2023

Inquirer.net, LIVE: Comelec holds press conference | November 3, Nov. 3, 2023

(Guided by the code of principles of the International Fact-Checking Network at Poynter, VERA Files tracks the false claims, flip-flops, misleading statements of public officials and figures, and debunks them with factual evidence. Find out more about this initiative and our methodology.)