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).
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].”
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 “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:
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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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.)