Court junks 2 petitions seeking to exclude voters-A A +A
By JM Agreda
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
TWO petitions to exclude registered voters in Barangays Campo Filipino and Kabayanihan were recently denied by the court due to technicalities.
Municipal Trial Court in Cities branch 3 presiding Judge Leody Opolinto, in a decision September 9, dismissed a petition filed by Gloria Limpin Ramirez to have 201 names of voters stricken out of the voter’s list in six different polling precincts in Barangay Campo Filipino.
The court cited Article XII Section 143 of the Omnibus Election Code as basis for the decision that each petition should only refer to one precinct. The presiding judge also cited Section 32 of Republic Act 8189 or the Common Rules Governing Judicial Proceedings in Inclusion, Exclusion and Correction of Names of Voters which also clearly states a petition should refer to only one precinct.
Opolinto said "the petition failed to observe the forgoing requirement or limitation" and "cannot be given due course" as the petition failed to refer to one precinct only.
Ramirez's ground for the petition for exclusion filed last August 30, according to Comelec Officer-in-Charge Anita Navalta, is that 201 voters could not possibly be living in the same address which is at No. 7 Roman Ayson Road.
Navalta said another exclusion case for some 33 registered voters filed by Kabayanihan punong barangay Michael Karl Flores was also dismissed by Judge Opolinto last September 9 as it also failed to comply with the requirements of prior notice under law and under rules.
However, a Motion for Reconsideration was filed by Flores for the dismissal stressing "there has been subsequent and substantial compliance to the requirements of prior notice as shown in certifications issued by the Office of the Clerk of Court, an affidavit of a barangay kagawad that the notice could not be served and an acknowledgment receipt from Comelec that the petition has been received."
But Flores' Motion for Reconsideration was again denied by the court in a decision ordered last September 17 for lack of merit.
"Assuming that a subsequent compliance may be allowed, there still appears no substantial compliance with the law. Section 32 of Republic Act 8189 provides that if service of the notice by personal delivery, substituted service or by registered mail is not practicable, the notice should be posted in the municipal or city hall and in two other conspicuous places within the city or municipality," the judge said.
"Granting that indeed the respondents cannot be notified personally, the notice in this case was posted only in the Office of the City Clerk of Court, not in the City Hall or in other public places, as required by law," the judge stated.
Navalta said only 12 names have been removed from the list of registered voters in Barangay Kabayanihan based on the initial petition filed by Flores at the Election Registration Board hearing.
The names were removed from the list of voters as "there is a clear discrepancy in their under oath declaration of information in their election registration forms."
She said the excluded voters declared two different barangays as address in their election registration form which is not possible.
The excluded voters filed a petition for inclusion at MTCC branch 2, which was also denied by Presiding Judge Glenda Ortiz Soriano validating the ERB's decision.
Meantime, the Commission on Elections has been purging the list of voters. Comelec regional director Julius Torres said the removal of names in the voter’s list is a continuous process of exclusion proceedings and validation with the Local Civil Registrar.
Torres said Comelec cannot delist registered voters without Local Civil Registry certifications as basis for removing names of deceased individuals. Deceased persons may also be removed from the voter’s list with family members moving for the removal.
Navalta, meanwhile, said they are still in the process of finalizing and printing of the Election Day Computerized Voter's List in preparation for the upcoming polls on October 28.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on September 26, 2013.