The widely trumpeted Philippine Councilors League (PCL) national officers’ elections at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City was declared a failure and reset within 60 days from its February 27 date. Polangui, Albay Councilor and PCLBicol Regional Chair Jesciel Richard Salceda, however, claims it was a whopping victory for President Duterte’s reform agenda.
Salceda aspires for the PCL national chairmanship. The election process, however, was marred by alleged cheating attempts and computer software glitches. Videos posted on Facebook showed councilors testing the voting app just before the election started, which revealed that a vote for Jesciel Salceda went to his rival in the confirmation. In another test, ten votes yielded 13 results. The problem was investigated and validated by the PCL national board and the Department of Interior and Local Government
Salceda’s team and political advisers claim they have 9,100 commitments out of the 11,900 registered PCL delegates in the elections. Majority of them then took it upon themselves to convene their league’s General Assembly which resolved the issue by opting for a manual election. No polls, however, materialize after nine hours of waiting. Thus, the decision to reset the elections under DILG guidance and supervision.
The youthful Albay councilor-leader has urged his supporters and colleagues in the PCL to stay calm and adhere to principles. A graduate of Yale University in the US, Salceda considers the incident a “baptism of fire” for his young political career. He stressed that “the real candidate in the PCL election is reform, especially constitutional reforms which PCL will push snd lead under our collegial and inclusive leadership.”
He has been campaigning for constitutional changes based on principles espoused by President Duterte. His advocacies include charter reforms, a five-year term for local officials from governors down to barangay captains, including Congressmen with three reelection option, and the ‘constitutionalization’ of the Supreme Court’s Mandanas Ruling that would institutionalize the ‘just share’ of LGUs in the Internal Revenue Allotment or IRA fund.
A nephew of Albay Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda, chair of the House’s Ways and Means Committee, the young Jesciel said he would have won if the polls pushed through, attributing his likely victory to the widespread support for his agenda, his strong team, authentic leadership, and demonstrated support to the national agenda of the President and genuine concern for the ordinary councilors nationwide.
The PCL consists of councilors from the country’s 146 cities and 1,488 municipalities. It has more than 17,000 members, who subscribe to the “Public Service Above Self” principle, and who have sworn to pass local laws for “the general welfare of their constituents.