Nograles to Supreme Court: Compel Comelec to cleanse Davao voters' list

Nograles to Supreme Court: Compel Comelec to cleanse Davao voters’ list
By Delon Porcalla
The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – Speaker Prospero Nograles yesterday asked the Supreme Court (SC) to compel the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to cleanse the Davao City voters’ list of double registrants and even registered voters that are already dead.

Nograles’ lawyer Danilo Basa filed a 10-page petition urging the SC to prepare a new list of voters in the three districts of Davao City.

Nograles, who is running for Davao City mayor against incumbent Mayor Rodrigo Duterte’s daughter Sara, argued that the voters’ list of the Comelec is not reliable in cases of conflicts.

The Comelec has rejected any request to deactivate multiple, double and dead registrants in its voters’ list, and Nograles expressed fears the list of voters sent to the Board of Election Inspectors will only create a “cloud of doubt” on the election results.

The poll watchdog Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) estimates there are three million double, multiple and dead registrants nationwide.

Nograles also dismissed the Comelec’s explanation that the voters’ list, which found several double registrants in Davao City, was merely an oversight on its part, or an “honest mistake.”

He claimed that this could be a “premeditated scheme to cheat in the 2010 elections.”

Meanwhile, citing an internal office memorandum, Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Satur Ocampo claimed that the National Printing Office (NPO) in Quezon City has no more time to finish printing all the official ballots for the May 10 elections.

“The memo provided us is proof that the elections are in peril because of the possibility that there will not be enough ballots on Election Day,” he said.

Esmeralda Amora-Ladra of the project management office election support group sent the internal memo to her chief Jose Tolentino Jr.

The memo said: “Based on the production output, 7,917,584 (ballots) have been printed as of the morning of March 1, 2010. As of that day, the reception committee has received only 5,328,823 or 67.30 percent as good ballots, 39,104 or .49 percent have been quarantined, including the ballots for Palawan, which the committee still has to inventory.”

Ocampo said the memo means that the Comelec has to tap other printers, which could open up the possibility for fraud.

This developed as presidential bet Sen. Jamby Madrigal got irked when employees of the NPO went out for lunch when she arrived at the agency to inspect the printing of ballots.

“I am not against automation but I am not satisfied with what I saw. Somebody whispered to me that they were sent out to have their lunch break. Those who were verifying and inspecting the finished ballots were sent out on purpose,” Madrigal said.

The Comelec had invited presidential and vice presidential candidates to inspect the printing of ballots at the NPO.

Comelec Commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal said that Madrigal arrived during the lunch break of employees.

Madrigal came in at around 11:30 a.m. while the inspection was supposed to start at 10:30 a.m.

Lawyer asks Melo to sit on 2nd division

The lawyer of Palawan Gov. Joel Reyes asked Comelec Chairman Jose Melo to sit as the third member of the controversial Second Division “to try to ensure the impartiality of the division, and to insulate it from powerful outside forces.”

The said division had come under fire recently for a series of decisions unseating several local executives in favor of protesting candidates perceived to be allies of the administration.

Lawyer Ferdinand Topacio, Reyes’ counsel of record in the disqualification case against the Palawan executive, made the request in the wake of Melo’s public statements made yesterday denying that there was bribery in the Comelec to secure favorable judgments.

“I have much faith in the integrity and probity of Chairman Melo, and now he is presented with a golden opportunity to squelch rumors of rampant bribe offers within the halls of the Comelec by sitting in the Second Division as the chairman and third member thereof in view of the voluntary inhibition of Commissioner Nicodemo Ferrer from sitting in my client’s case.”   – With Jess Diaz, Sheila Crisostomo

Karen Ang

A plebeian who is trying to make small changes in this world.