Friday, December 18, 2009

Comelec prepares for additional 1-M voters

Written by Sara Fabunan / Correspondent
Wednesday, 16 December 2009 21:26

Original Story:

DESPITE getting caught offguard by the Supreme Court (SC) decision extending the voters’ registration period, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Wednesday said it expects to register an additional 1 million voters for the May 2010 polls.

Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said the poll body has no choice but to implement the SC order because it is “for immediate execution.”

“Registration is not only the filing [of applications]…may mga administrative aspects din dito like completing the Book of Voters, posting notices on the Election Registration Board [ERB] and subsequent hearings,” Jimenez explained.

“Kaya ngayong inatras na ang deadline, there will be many ramifications,” he added.

Asked how much of the timeline would be affected by the SC ruling, Jimenez pegged it at about three to four weeks.

“But, of course, we will try hard so that it will not affect our preparations for the automation,” he stressed.

On Tuesday the SC upheld the petition of the Kabataan Party-list and directed the commission to extend the voter-registration period to January 9, 2010.

It can be recalled that the registration for the May 2010 polls ended on October 31 after the commission cited the need to finish registration earlier owing to the poll-automation project.

Tentatively, Jimenez said the poll body will register new voters from December 21 to 23 and on 28 and 29.

Also, the official added that January 2 to 9 of the registration period will be dedicated to the “administrative side” of registration, such as posting of the names of the applicants and ERB hearings.

In a related development, Comelec Law Department chief Ferdinand Rafanan said the poll body will file a “motion for clarification” before the SC despite the provision that no “motion for reconsideration” will be accepted.

“Ipapa-clarify natin sa SC iyon…but we will have to make do with what is there in accordance with the decision and we can see that the Comelec will be operating under very difficult circumstances,” Rafanan told reporters in a separate interview.

Rafanan said the poll body will issue the final guidelines on the extended voters’ registration as soon as it gets the clarification from the SC.

Jimenez noted that there was no mention made on the automation system of the elections in the said resolution.

“We will just try to get the justices to take notice of the automation to prove that we had good intentions in moving the deadline to an earlier date,” Jimmez said.

Original Story:

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