MANILA, Philippines – It’s 13 days before the May 9 polls, but the Commission on Elections (Comelec) remains undecided on whether to turn a number of malls into polling precincts on election day.
Asked if mall voting is pushing through, Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista told reporters on Tuesday evening, April 26, “We have to find out. Tomorrow, tomorrow.”
Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista says they still have no final decision on mall voting today @rapplerdotcom #PHVote pic.twitter.com/6edWOk7rwT— Paterno Esmaquel II (@paterno_II) April 26, 2016
The Comelec has less than two weeks to go before the May 9 elections.
Bautista explained on Tuesday that he still has to talk with Comelec Commissioner Luie Guia, who was not present when the poll body took up mall voting in its day-long meeting.
Bautista said he wants to verify Guia’s position on mall voting.
“Gusto ko plantsado,” Bautista said. (I want everything ironed out.)
Still, the elections chief said, the Comelec is continuing to prepare for mall voting.
Comelec Commissioners Christian Lim and Rowena Guanzon have opposed Bautista’s mall voting proposal.
Guanzon earlier explained that the Omnibus Election Code prohibits the transfer of polling places “within 45 days before a regular election.”
Faith in polls at stake
The Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) echoed Lim and Guanzon’s concerns.
PPCRV head Henrietta De Villa said on Saturday, April 23: “Kasi ang pagkakaalam ko, kahit hindi ako abogado e, pagkakaalam ko na you cannot do that 45 days prior to elections. Na-address ba ‘yon? Nalipat na ba? O meron na bang resolution na lipatin ‘yung mga polling precincts concerned?”
(Has that been done? Because as far as I know, even if I’m not a lawyer, as far as I know, you cannot do that 45 days prior to elections. Has that been addressed? Have these been transferred? Or is there already a resolution to move the polling precincts concerned?)
De Villa said the Comelec should address legal issues on mall voting, or else the poll body could face another court case.
“E ang napeperwisyo, hindi lang ang Comelec kundi ang electoral process – ‘yung paniwala natin sa proseso ng eleksyon,” De Villa said. (What’s affected is not only the Comelec but also the electoral process – our faith in the electoral process.)
PPCRV chair Tita de Villa on issues surrounding mall voting: Faith in elections at stake @rapplerdotcom #PHVote pic.twitter.com/uNKzJ6AkiJ— Paterno Esmaquel II (@paterno_II) April 24, 2016
Former Comelec Commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal had also rejected mall voting for the same reason: it is illegal because the law prohibits the transfer of polling precincts 45 days before elections.
Larrazabal already criticized the Comelec on April 19 for its supposed lack of urgency in its preparations. – Rappler.com
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