THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) will propose early elections in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (Armm) during its meeting with the House of Representatives oversight committee on Tuesday.

Commissioner Rene Sarmiento said the poll body is planning to hold the automated elections in Armm on April 12 coinciding with the start of the one-month overseas absentee voting.

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The poll body has earlier drafted a bill proposing early voting to be implemented in hot spots and areas considered controversial.

“What the proposed bill says that it would be to the advantage of the electorate to ensure elections in these areas (hot spots) if the voting will be done earlier,” said Sarmiento.

Cagayan de Oro Representative Rufus Rodriguez and Senator Richard Gordon have also filed separate bills on early voting.

The commission is also planning to discuss with the oversight committee their plan to hold early voting for media practitioners since journalists are also working on election day. It is tentatively set on April 24 to 26.

Makati Representative Teodoro Locsin Jr. earlier asked the poll body to allow journalists to cast their votes early in the coming 2010 elections.

Substitute voting

Another bill pending in Congress is the substitution bill, which allows a vote of a disqualified candidate to be counted to another.

Comelec has asked Congress to revise the present law on substitution voting that only applies to manual voting where voters need to write the name of their chosen substitute candidate.

“How can you write the substitute candidate on the blank space? That cannot be. The proposal in the congress is the only solution,” said Sarmiento.

The Comelec official assured that voters will not be confused of the substitute voting.

A candidate may be substituted in case of disqualification, death, and permanent disability. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)