Comelec to resume continuing registration next month

June 20, 2010 11:02 pm 

MANILA, June 20 – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) plans to resume the voter’s registration next month, in connection with the barangay and sangguniang kabataan (SK) polls on Oct. 25.

In an interview, Comelec Spokesperson James Jimenez said that the poll body plans to hold the registration from July 1 to 31.

“The Commission en banc is set to discuss this on Tuesday but tentatively they are looking to conduct the registration next month,” he said.

The poll body advised young Filipinos, who will be 15 years old and below, to register to be able to participate in the SK elections.

It also advised individuals, who will be turning 18 on Oct. 25, to register to exercise their right of suffrage.

Some 43,000 posts for barangay and SK chairman as well as 293,965 for Sangguniang Barangay and SK council will be contested in the October polls.

Voters are to choose one chairman and six barangay council members while young voters will elect their SK chief and six council members.

The poll body earlier said it planned to conduct the barangay and SK elections manually since they do not need to consolidate votes on a national level.

“Traditionally, we’ve always had manual elections even though automated solutions are available, why because for barangay and SK polls we do not have consolidation on a nationwide scale,” Jimenez said.

“It becomes more expensive in the sense that you are not utilizing the system to its capacity. It becomes more expensive and it takes a lot longer. Whereas, if you just do a hand count it will be done in several hours and you don’t need to consolidate it anyway so you can go ahead with the proclamation,” he also said.

Meanwhile, a lawmaker has asked the Comelec to declare a failure of election and call for a special polls in the towns of La Paz and Danglas in Abra.

In a memorandum submitted with the poll body, lawyer Edmund Espina said 116 of the 500 professionals and students executed affidavits that they were in Metro Manila and elsewhere during the May 10 elections to escape the prevalence of violence, terrorism, intimidation, and fraud, which characterized the elections in La Paz and Danglas.

“We have around 500 plus witnesses willing to swear before the Commission on Elections that they were not in Abra during elections, only to find out that somebody voted on their behalf when they returned home,” said the lawyer of Abra Rep. Cecilia Seares-Luna.

The legislator asked the Comelec to call for a special election, saying that thousands of residents in the towns of La Paz and Danglas were allegedly harassed and intimidated in pursuing their rights to vote.

“This clearly indicates that the electorate of La Paz and Danglas have not actually participated in the voting as their true will was not respected. It is basic in election law that when somebody exercises the right of another in choosing for him/her his/her candidate, against her/his will, there could never have been an election or voting that ever took place as the same is nothing but a fake or better yet bogus,” Espina said in his memorandum to the Comelec.

Section 6 of Batas Pambansa Bilang 881, otherwise known as the Omnibus Election Code of the Philippines, states that elections were deemed to have been failure when incidents of terrorism, violence, and fraud marred the proceedings. (PNA) RMA/FGP/utb

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