Paranaque rep opposes putting voting centers in malls

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News
Posted at 09/24/2015 11:19 PM

MANILA – Paranaque Rep. Gus Tambunting is considering getting a court order to stop the Commission on Elections’ (Comelec) plan to put voting centers in shopping malls for the 2016 elections.

Tambunting said Comelec Chairman Jose Andres Bautista confirmed the poll body’s plan when he faced Congress to defend their budget for 2016.

Tambunting recalled that Bautista assured lawmakers that the poll body will carefully check if the malls are owned by candidates or their relatives. He, however, is wary that some businessmen may be backing some candidates.

He is also wary that the Comelec may not be able to safeguard the integrity of the ballot if elections are held in a private establishment.

Bautista told lawmakers the poll body will come up with an agreement with malls.

Tambunting is wary it may not be feasible in the Philippines especially since poll watchers are hired based on their proximity to the voting centers. The Comelec, however, put a premium on the convenience and comfort of voters.

Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares, however, said no law requires elections be held in a school as the poll body is authorized to move voting centers depending on their capacity to safeguard the integrity of the elections.

But Colmenares admitted usually government facilities are tapped—thus the plan of the Comelec may be the first time elections are held in a private establishment.

Colmenares is also wary that owners of private establishments may stop voting.

He said anyone can seek a remedy from the courts.

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