THE LEGAL NETWORK for Truthful Elections (LENTE) will deploy about 1,000 volunteers from 45 law schools to monitor village and youth council elections on Oct. 30.

In a statement on Sunday, LENTE said its monitoring activities would ensure that persons with disabilities, senior citizens and prisoners get to vote.

It said observations from Monday’s elections would be used to come up with electoral reforms and keep track of vote-buying incidents.

The election watchdog urged the public to be wary of candidates who may visit their homes before the elections as a last-ditch effort to seek their favor.

“It is crucial to elect individuals who are not only well-prepared but also dedicated in addressing the pressing needs of their constituents within a limited time frame,” LENTE said.

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) last month said 1.31 million candidates would run for village and youth council posts.

In a statement on Oct. 24, the Supreme Court stood by its ruling that voided the law postponing the village and youth council elections from December 2022 to this month, but said the elections would be held on Oct. 30 since it was practical to do so.

President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. In October last year signed into law setting the village elections, which were originally scheduled for December last year, on the last day of Monday of October 2023 and every three years thereafter.

The high court in June voided the law, saying there was no compelling reason to delay the right to vote provided by the Constitution.It also set village and youth elections on every first Monday of December starting 2025.

Last week, Comelec said it would bar the proclamation of winning candidates with pending illegal campaigning and premature campaigning cases.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas on Oct. 12 said banks and financial institutions should monitor large transactions that could be linked to vote-buying and vote-selling activities during the election period.

Meanwhile, Senator Sherwin “Win” T. Gatchalian on Sunday renewed his push for a national federation that will train youth council officials on good governance.

“We need to create a national federation so that we can enhance the capacities of our Sangguniang Kabataan (Youth Council) officials,” he said in a statement, citing the bill he filed last year.

“Through the Sangguniang Kabataan, we provide our youth with the opportunity to participate in the development of our society,” he added. — John Victor D. Ordoñez