KABATAAN party-list Representative Mong Palatino said the Commission on Elections (Comelec) should recall its statement that there was a generally poor turnout during the extended registration last December.

The poll body earlier announced that a total of 258,691 citizens were able to register during the five-day extended list-up which is a far cry from the two million the commission expected to register.

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"We were able to register 258,000. Comelec should recant its statement that there was low turnout," said Palatino.

He added that the registration was a success considering the "confusing" statement made by the commission.

"This is a success despite the short period, Christmas season, and confusing, irresponsible statement from Comelec that new registrants are just chance passengers on voting day," he said.

The number of additional registrants will not be included in the number of ballots to be printed starting January 25.

Comelec expects only 80 percent turnout on election day, which will give way to the December registrants to vote.

Voter registration originally ended last October 31, 2009 but Comelec had to allow a five-day registration following the order of the Supreme Court granting the petition of Palatino to extend the voter list-up until January 9.

Registrants took advantage of the extended period from December 21-23 and 28-29 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

More than 50 million Filipinos are registered to vote on the May 2010 national elections.

Extended list-up overseas

On a related note, Palatino said an extension of overseas registration, which was requested by a Filipin woman residing in Boston, Massachussetts, is already too late.

"Election campaigning will soon start and the law prohibits voter registration after January 9," said Palatino.

Maritess Salientes Bloom filed a petition to the Comelec requesting for an additional 28-day registration of overseas absentee voters.

Bloom added that there should be an "equal protection of law," saying that the approved extended local registration should also apply to absentee voters.(Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)