Low voter turnout posted for barangay polls-A A +A
By JM Agreda
Monday, October 28, 2013
COMPARED to the midterm elections last May, only a handful of voters turned out in majority of precincts in the city except for some clustered precincts with numerous voters.
Commission on Elections Baguio-Benguet provincial election supervisor Elenita Tabangin-Capuyan reported shorter lines and peaceful elections in most polling precincts in Baguio and Benguet compared to the previous polls.
Capuyan said that compared to the midterm elections, voting in the barangay elections were hassle free as lines seen early at 7 a.m. and trimmed by lunch time.
Lesser glitches were also expected compared to the automated polls which rely heavily on electricity with the operation of Precinct Count Optical Scan machines.
She said the commission expects to have all winning barangay officials proclaimed before 12 midnight Monday in various polling precincts.
In Baguio City, some 14 candidates for punong barangays were unopposed, which may also be a reason why only a few voters were registered in these barangays, Capuyan said.
"Comparing it to the automated elections, the automated election is more hyped compared to the manual election now. There are other people who have been saying they do not even know some of the candidates in their barangay with several voters leaving blank some names in their ballots," she said.
Acting Baguio election officer Anita Navalta said compared to the automated polls, a smoother election was also reported by Board of Election Inspectors Monday with common problems on missing names on voter’s lists and lack of identification cards to present.
Navalta told Sun.Star Baguio around 12pm yesterday, Comelec is expecting more than 70 percent of voters to cast their votes in various polling precincts.
Navalta said voters who failed to cast their votes in the May 13 midterm elections and the previous barangay elections are automatically cleared out of the voter’s list which may require those delisted to register with Comelec again.
She stressed those without identification cards should present a witness to testify hey reside and are registered in the barangay.
Meanwhile, residents in Campo Filipino barangay complained of irregularities in their voter’s list resulting in the several exclusion cases in the Comelec.
The complainant of the exclusion cases, Gloria Limpin Ramirez, over social networking site Facebook last Monday claimed several voters in her barangay continued to use supplemental certifications from Comelec to enable them to cast their vote.
Comelec-Baguio, meanwhile, denied issuing certifications to voters in Campo Filipino and clarified they only adhere to decisions made by the Election Registration Board hearing last August and the official voter’s list issued on the same hearing.
Navalta said of the four barangays, they have received reports of friction among supporters and continued campaigning in barangays Kagitingan and Malcolm Square, which are all in the Central Business District.
Comelec-Cordillera regional director Julius Torres, meanwhile, said they cannot compare the midterm polls with the village elections adding both activities have different preparations.
He said barangays have a shorter time of preparation and lesser campaigning time for officials compared to candidates in the previous midterm polls.
Barangays, however, are expected to have lower expenses compared to those running for positions from Councilor to Senator.
He also dismissed problems encountered by election officers as ‘minor’ with perennial problems encountered every election. These include missing names in voter’s list, candidates campaigning despite the lapse of the campaign period and ‘flying voters’.
Baguio City Police Office director Senior Superintendent Jesus Cambay Jr. said the 30 additional personnel from the Special Weapons and Tactics and Crown Dispersal and Management divisions deployed in four barangays namely Kagitingan, Kabayanihan, Malcolm Square and Camp 7 reduced incidents of harassment and friction among supporters of rival candidates.
Cambay conducted inspections at the four barangays as he dismissed other ‘no election’ scenarios after some 70 candidates from barangays declared as ‘areas of interest’ signed a peace covenant promising they will uphold a secure and fair elections.
He said they have only apprehended two gun ban violators while they have activated the liquor ban Saturday midnight.
BCPO Station 2 operatives arrested a certain Mayver Inomnen, 32 at Riverside, Barangay Happy Homes for violating the liquor ban which was lifted midnight of October 28.
Investigation showed BCPO Station 2 operatives responded to a report the a group of male persons having a drinking spree in the barangay which led them to arrest the suspect and a minor in possession of a local gin, plastic cups and shot glasses.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on October 29, 2013.