Leaders, folks claim irregularities in voters registration in Sulu town PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 23 July 2012 14:11

Local leaders and residents have assailed alleged irregularities during the conduct of the voters registration in the island town of  Kalinggalan Caluang in Sulu province.

Reports on the alleged irregularities were brought to attention of Commission on Elections Chairman Sixto Brillantes and to other election watch groups.

Legitimate and qualified voters from Kalinggalan Caluang town have expressed serious concerns over some violations by non-legitimate registrants and election officers in the conduct of the recently concluded general registration  in their different centers.

In a letter to  Chairman Brillantes,  Benhur Tawasil, former mayor of  Kalinggalan Caluang, informed the observations that  minors and non-residents were allowed to  register.

At the same time, Tawasil lamented that the main purpose of the re-registration in the ARMM  has been defeated, which is to cleanse the  electoral processes.

Although, the holding of the 10-day voters’ list in the province of Sulu one of the provinces of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao was generally without any untoward incident reported to the authorities, election officers manning the registration precincts have observed dual and multiple registrants who were able to register.

According to Tawasil,  particularly, in the  villages of Pitogo and Kanlagay in Kalinggalan Caluang, obvious incidents of blatant double and multiple registration had occurred while in Barangay Pangdan-Pangdan, registration was halted few days after without any valid reasons and due notice.

Eyewitnesses had reported  tha“hakot” practice specifically in Barangay Pitogo  had again occurred wherein  outsiders  were able to register.

Citing the 2010 poll results, Pitogo had a history of statistical improbability  in terms of turnout due to “hakot system” practiced by politicians that repeatedly been observed during the voter’s list up.

“This was exactly what happened in the 2010 election — there were 4,995 registered voters for Barangay Pitogo despite it having a population of just 4,394 based on  census figures for ARMM, said Tawasil.

He added, a citizen’s group  from K. Caluang warned the Comelec in a letter sent on June 27, 2012 that this might happen.

“Unfortunately, our warning fell on deaf ears,” Tawasil said.

As a result in that election, the number of voters had exceeded the number of voting population,  Tawasil told said in an interview.

He said minors apparently with ages ranging from 10 to 14 years old were allowed to register.

In previous interviews, Chairman Brillantes assured the public that the Election Registration Board will delete all disqualified registrant voters to include under age (minors) and dual or multiple registrants.

TheComelec has annulled the over  1.8 million voters list to pave the way for the re-registration of new voters.

Tawasil likewise observed that in Barangay Pangdan-Pangdan,  registration was stopped after  five days on orders of the municipal  election officer which violates the 10-day period as prescribed by the Commission in an  banc resolution.

Tawasil alleged  that all of these violations happened right under the noses of Comelec officials  assigned to the area where in some instance, “it seemed to observers as if they were not just  ignoring the offenders... the comelec was actually abetting them.”

He expressed disgust over the irregularities even as he urged the  Commission to look seriously into this.

“The main purpose of the “back to zero” policy for the ARMM special voters registration period  is to eliminate various kinds of voter frauds that plagued the ARMM voters list in the past, and  to reduced if not completely eradicate cheating in future elections.”

Meanwhile, Tawasil accused Kalinggalan Caluang Municipal Election Officer Kabir Salian as allegedly the one who orchestrated the conduct of the registration his being reportedly known and  identified with some local officials.

Tawasil, however, is optimistic that the Comelec will be able to make the necessary corrections or take the needed action. — WAJ/IPZI