PPCRV against Comelec’s plan to allow voters to get replacement ballots

By on April 24, 2016

A sample of a ballot for 2016 Philippine election (Twitter photo).
A sample of a ballot for 2016 Philippine election (Twitter photo).

MANILA—The Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) has expressed opposition on the plan of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to allow voters to ask for replacement ballots so as not to disenfranchise them.

“We are not in favor of that (replacement ballot) kasi mahihirapan at magkakaroon na naman ng gulo dun sa replacement,” said former Ambassador Henrietta de Villa, PPCRV national chairperson.

With this, she said that they have sent a letter to the poll body for clarification.

“‘Yung replacement ballot, talagang gumawa kami ng sulat dyan asking for clarification. Alam naman natin, bawat presinto ang ibinibigay na balota ay exactly to the number of voters na nakalista doon,” the PPCRV head said.

De Villa is also concerned where will the Comelec get the needed ballots in case the voter turnout is 90 percent.

“Sabi nga, hindi naman daw nagkakaroon 100 percent voter turnout. Pero just in case magkaroon o kaya ang turnout ay 90 percent at more than 90 percent ang balota na nakuha for replacement. Papaano? San kukuha ng balota para sa nakalistang botante doon? That’s disenfranchisement,” she said.

The head of the citizens’ arm of the Comelec in the May 9 polls noted that they want a clarification from the poll body on these issues since they will be manning the voters assistance desk on Election Day, for them to be able to explain to the voters in case they would ask them regarding the matter.

At the same time, De Villa said they are also not in favor of the frivolous complaint that will be filed by the poll body once a voter is caught bringing the voter receipt out of the polling place.

“We are also not in favor of that, who will determine that (violation),” she added,

With this, De Villa said that they expect the poll body to answer them as soon as possible.

“I hope soon. As of now wala pa. I think naman given the way Comelec does things now, I hope we will get a response. I’m still thinking na siguro pinag-uuspan pa din nila kasi this will need an en banc resolution,” she added.

Earlier, Commissioner Christian Robert Lim said that he does not agree with the provision of the amended General Instructions (GI) for BEIs, allowing replacement ballots but only if the ballot rejection is not the voters’ own doing.

“I’m against it kasi really on Election Day, on the ground ‘yan, hindi mo kayang each and every one ay makokontra mo ‘yan kaya sobrang delikado ‘yan,” he said.

Comelec Resolution No. 10088 states that “No replacement ballot shall be issued to a voter, whose ballot is rejected by the VCM, except if the rejection of the ballot is not due to the fault of the voter.”

Lim added that he could not find in the law on the filing of frivolous complaint against a voter who will bring out voter receipts from the voting precincts.

“Wala ako mahanap e kaya nga disagree ako don, paano mo ipo-prove na frivolus siya?” he said

Comelec Resolution No. 10088 affirmed that filing of frivolous complaints, which shall be made under oath, concerning the voter receipts are considered as election offense cases.