Friday August 17, 2018

Delisted voters, political disputes in polling centers

THE village and youth council elections is finally over, but just like the usual polls in the country, it did not end without the challenges faced by voters, police, and the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

Emmalyn Gallentes, 37, a resident of Zone 10, Barangay Carmen arrived early at the polling center in Upper Carmen Elementary School but to her surprise, she was listed at the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) or youth council list of registered voters.

"I was told that if I cast my vote still, it will be invalid," Gallentes said.

While some voters' names are placed in the SK master list, some did not find their names in any of the master lists at all. Several voters opted to leave the voting areas since they couldn't find their polling precincts, even though maps were placed outside the buildings indicating precinct numbers.

City Comelec Officer Ramil Acol said these individuals might have already been deactivated from the list of registered voters for failing to vote for two consecutive elections.

Acol urged those voters, who claim they were able to participate in two consecutive elections but delisted, to visit their office the soonest possible.

Meanwhile, tension gripped in some polling centers in Cagayan de Oro due to political rivalry.

South City Central School, the polling center in Barangay Nazareth, was visited twice by Comelec officials after supports of opposing camps got into an altercation.

Acol had to issue an order, authorizing policemen to go inside the polling centers to ensure that supporters won't get into a fight.

With a megaphone, Police City Director Senior Superintendent Nelson Aganon intervened to help cool down the candidates and supporters. Aganon ordered all those who have finished voting to stay outside the polling center, including politician Rufus Rodriguez, and his brother 2nd District Representative Maxie Rodriguez.

The two were seen shaking hands with voters before the Comelec officers arrived. Reina Nacaya's camp said they saw the Rodriguezes' act as campaigning, and should be prohibited.

The same scenario happened in barangays 17 and Puntod where both opposing camps almost got into a fight.

Meanwhile, the absence of medical assistance desk was glaring in some poll centers. Some senior citizens and persons with disabilities complained of the lack of medical help they were supposed to get after voting.

While there were express lanes available, some of these were placed on the top floors of buildings, making it difficult for the elderly and the disabled to vote.