‘Eyeglasses for voters okay’

LOCAL government units (LGUs) may provide voters with poor eyesight eyeglasses but they cannot deploy vehicles to shuttle people to polling areas, an official of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said yesterday.

Comelec Cebu Provincial Officer Ferdinand Gujilde, however, stressed that the eyeglasses should not contain the name of any candidate.

“Giving something of value that might be taken as vote buying, especially on election day is prohibited,” Gujilde said.

He said, though, that the board of election inspector (BEI) of a polling place has the prerogative to allow the donation of eyeglasses.

“The BEI has the supreme authority inside the polling place. They control everything,” he said.

The Omnibus Election Code prohibits giving of free transportation, food, drinks and things of value on the voting day.

Toledo City Election Officer Michael Angelo Sarno said violations of the law are treated as criminal cases.

Sarno said Comelec cannot act on heresy so there must be a complaint and evidence.

Jail time

Violators may face imprisonment from one to six years and will be disqualified from occupying any public office.

Meanwhile, Gujilde said a special board of election inspector (SBEI) will bring ballots to jails to allow qualified detainees to vote. After the voting, the SBEI will bring the ballots to the polling precinct where it will be placed in a ballot secrecy folder and fed into the Precinct Count Optical Scan machine.

Maj. Gen. Roy Deveraturda, new head of the Central Command (Centcom), said the Armed Forces of the Philippines will help the Comelec ensure a peaceful and orderly election in May.

Deveraturda replaced Vice Admiral Edgar Abogado, who will assume the post of superintendent of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA).

Vow

Deveraturda vowed to continue the programs of Abogado, which is to maintain peace in the Visayas to ensure economic development. He said that while some areas in the region face security threats, he is optimistic that it will be free of insurgents.

“With the help of all stakeholders—such as local government units, private sector, non-
government organizations—we will achieve it in the near future,” he said.

Before assuming the Centcom post, Deveraturda served as commander of the Philippine Air Force’s 2nd Air Division in Lapu-Lapu City. During his term, the division was named Best Camp Award for two consecutive years.

“The duty to lead Centcom, being AFP's core unit in the Visayas, is a herculean task for any commander. But this is one undertaking that I am prepared to take,” Deveraturda said during his speech at the turnover ceremony.
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