Nation


Listing turnout mirrors fraud claim




Posted on July 11, 2012


ZAMBOANGA CITY -- Initial turnout of voter registration in the autonomous Muslim region has been low, an outcome that has been expected by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) given alleged bloated and inaccurate records.

“Reports coming from our project director is that for the first day the partial figure is about 75,000 registrants. Now, if we project this for 10 days, these will go to about 750,000 registrants, which is very low because [the] initial registered voters that we have annulled in ARMM (Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao) is 1.7 million,” Comelec Chairman Sixto S. Brillantes, Jr. told reporters.

An additional 450,000 voters are expected to round up the figure to about 1.2 million upon completion of the report.

“This will result in 1.2 million registrants. That’s our extrapolation and projection, which is okay because we really expect that 1.7 million registered voters in ARMM that was annulled was really a bloated number,” he pointed out.

On June 11, President Benigno S. C. Aquino III signed Joint Resolution No. 3 of Congress that annulled the book of voters in ARMM and order the conduct of general registration.

WARNING ISSUED

As the region entered its second day of voter listing, Mr. Brillantes warned village officials and police officers against unauthorized activities inside the registration centers.

“They don’t have business inside the registration centers,” he said, adding that the Comelec will not hesitate to file charges against authorities who interfere in the registration process.

“I personally saw in Tawi-Tawi when I went to one island-municipality there, the barangay official seems to be very active in the recruitment of voters. This is something we would not want to happen. In fact, I gave a warning in Tawi-Tawi that a barangay official should not participate and should not be active in the registration of voters,” he said.

Mr. Brillantes even cited reports of minors who are allowed to register.

“What the Comelec is looking at is how widespread is this malpractice in ARMM during the registration,” he said.

“Our instruction to our election officers is not to argue and let them register and accept them because we have a scheme, which will not tell you in the meantime where we can eliminate [questionable registrants].”

Mr. Brillantes said all data will be validated in the Comelec central office to eliminate doubtful registrants. -- D. T. Wee