Saturday, December 19, 2009

Comelec told cleansing voter’s list in ARMM more urgent task

Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 21:59:00 12/19/2009

Filed Under: Elections, Eleksyon 2010, Inquirer Politics

Original Story:

COTABATO CITY—INstead of conducting another round of voter’s registration in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) should cleanse the region’s list of voters to ensure fraud-free elections next year, acting ARMM Gov. Ansaruddin Adiong said Saturday.

Adiong, in a letter sent to Comelec Chair Jose Melo on Friday, said ARMM leaders have signified their “strongest collective opposition” to a new round of voter’s registration in the region.

ARMM has gained notoriety in previous elections as the alleged site of massive election fraud that favored the Arroyo administration.

“Continuing registration has been in place in the region for a long period of time sufficient enough to allow legitimate voters to register,” Adiong said.

Adiong said cleaning up the voter’s list was more urgent.

“Cleanse the current list of voters in the region and not add new registrants, which can only pollute the already polluted voter’s list,” he said.

Adiong said the new round of registration could provide an opportunity to some politicians to bloat the figure of voters in their areas.

Lanao del Sur Gov. Mamintal Adiong Jr. said the new round of registration may just allow cheaters to recruit so-called flying voters and this could lead to trouble.

Enough of violence

“We already have had enough of violence,” said Mamintal Jr.

He said governors Sakur Tan of Sulu, Jun Akbar of Basilan, Dick Sahali of Tawi-Tawi and acting Maguindanao Gov. Nariman Ambolodto were also opposed to a new voter’s registration in their provinces.

The six-day extended registration was set to start Monday.

Mamintal Jr. said almost all eligible voters in the ARMM were already registered.

Nationwide voters’ registration ended on Oct. 31. According to the Comelec, there were 49.2 million registrants for next year’s elections.

Mamintal Jr. said the voter’s list in ARMM has many multiple and false entries.

In many towns and villages, the number of registered voters exceed the number of voting population, “which is impossible,” said the Lanao del Sur governor.

Out in the open

ARMM officials also cited election-related violence possibly escalating in the region as one of the reasons they oppose extended registration, he said.

Now that candidates for local races are known, Mamintal Jr. said officials fear that rivalries would further heat up during the registration period.

Maguindanao, which is part of ARMM, continue to hog headlines as a result of the mass murder of 57 people, including at least 30 journalists, in Ampatuan town.

Comelec Chair Melo confirmed that he received a letter from at least two ARMM governors about the extended registration, but that the Comelec has to push through with it because it was so ordered by the Supreme Court.

“Other governors of ARMM are asking for the same thing. But the Supreme Court ordered the registration,” he said. Inquirer Mindanao and Kristine L. Alave in Manila

Original Story:

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