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Scrapping of mall precincts has no effect to Cebu voters

By: Izobelle T. Pulgo April 28,2016 - 10:42 PM

A Commission on Elections (Comelec) officer said the scrapping of mall voting precincts was not expected to affect voters in Cebu and Mandaue cities on May 9.

Acting Mandaue Comelec officer Ferdinand Gujilde, the former provincial election officer, said they received the memora ndum on their central office’s decision yesterday.

“That’s why the memorandum said the ‘initiative’ was withdrawn. It was still a plan. Even in Cebu City, we don’t expect any effect on the voting because there’s no resolution yet that the mall voting would continue, at least on paper,” he said.

Gujilde said public consultations showed that a lot of people were opposed to it.

Gujilde said their office had shelved the proposal prior to the Comelec decision because Mandaue City voters complained that it would mean additional fares due to the heavy traffic leading up to the malls.

Gujilde said voters who would have been covered by the mall voting were not informed about it.

“Their presumption is that the voting will still be done in the precincts,” he said.

The Comelec voted 4-3 against using malls as voting precincts on May 9 last Tuesday.

In opposing the plan, Commissioners Rowena Guanzon and Christian Robert Lim said this constitutes a violation of the Omnibus Election Code.

They said the code bars the physical transfer of polling precincts 45 days before the elections.

But Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista, who voted in favor of the mall voting proposal, said the physical transfer can only be done on election day.

The Comelec en banc voted 6-1 to use malls as voting precincts last March 10 or 60 days before the May 9 elections.

A case questioning the use of malls as voting precincts is pending at the Supreme Court.

The use of malls as voting precincts is seen to benefit senior citizens and persons with disabilities (PWDs).

Meanwhile, 14 election officers are scheduled to cast their votes on the second day of local absentee voting at the Comelec provincial office today.

Cebu City election officer Michael Angelo Sarno is the designated chairman of the Special Board of Election Inspectors who will supervise the casting of votes within the office.

Local absentee voters can only vote for candidates running for president, vice president, senators and party-list representative.

The absentee voting process will be done manually with the ballots sealed in an envelope and transmitted to the Comelec’s Manila office for counting.

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