Disenfranchisement, VCM glitches, vote-buying mar Basilan elections PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 15 May 2016 14:34

By RENEV. CARBAYAS

ISABELA CITY, Basilan,– Names removed, not listed, or erased with black ink from the voters’ lists prevented a number of people here  from voting in this year’s national and local elections.

Fr. Floyd Costan, Coordinator of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV), observed that while generally, the conduct of elections 2016 was peaceful; the voting was still marred with disenfranchisement, vote-buying and selling, and glitches in vote-counting machines (VCM).

“We cannot deny there are massive vote-buying and selling and the influential presence of some barangay officials who seemed to be ‘BEIs’ inside the polling precincts,” he said.

Fr. Coastan appealed to Comelec that this should be looked into for future elections where barangay officials should not be allowed to stay in the precincts except to vote.

Voters themselves confirmed that days prior to the election, individuals representing particular local candidates are distributing cash and goods. Aware that this is in violation of the election law, the people refused to bear witness or make a formal complaint.

He noted about the massive disenfranchisement of voters as voters would approach PPCRV volunteers complaining that their names were erased or marked in black and that they were not able to vote.

Fr. Costan estimated that based on his experience about 10  persons in a precinct were not able to vote due to this.

He said that Comelec explained that marked names at the list voters’ list indicated that the voter may have double registration, transferred, or deceased.

“Hindi namin makita ang pangalan ko (we cannot find our names),” said a voter of Sunrise barangay.

Some of them though, were still able to cast their votes with the assistance of PPCRV electronic precinct finder team.

He also affirmed that glitches in the VCM slowed down the voting process. Reports of bogged down, paper jam, overheating, and malfunctioning were among the reported problems from polling centers. But, some of these were resolved accordingly.

“The most common issue is more on the Smartmatic machines [sic] wherein paper jams are constantly being experienced,” said Hatta Amil, member of the DepEd Monitoring Team.

Recently, the proclamation of winners in Isabela City was delayed as the Board of Canvassers discovered during transmission of results to the national level that five SD cards were empty.

Observers said that this could be due to human or technical error.

The CBOC had already summoned the BEIs to explain and execute an affidavit. It also requested Comelec en bacn permission to insert manually the results from the printed election returns to complete the transmission.