Missing names mar ‘orderly’ conduct of election in Davao

Oct. 28, 2013

Davao Today

DAVAO CITY (12:00 nn) – Election officers claimed the barangay election as “orderly.” But for many voters, it is the usual chaos of failing to find their names on voters’ lists and meeting a flurry of last-minute campaign leaflets.

Commission on Election (Comelec) Region 11 lawyer Danilo Cullo said areas of concern in the hinterlands of the city have been relatively calm.

Cullo told Davao Today that he is assured no violence would erupt, as he heard a statement from the National Democratic Front spokesperson Ka Oris that the New People’s Army “will refrain from launching actions in Monday’s polls.”

But in the urban centers, hundreds of voters complained their names are missing as clustered precinct assignments were re-arranged.

Voters in Buhangin Elementary School of the second district told Davao Today they were discouraged because they were not informed beforehand about this change.

Even Second District Councilor John Louie Bonguyan, the top vote-getter in his district during the May election, took several hours before he could find his name in his precinct in the same school.

In Barangay 74-A or Matina Crossing, voters went back and forth in precincts at Daniel Aguinaldo High School looking for their names.

People would line up on the masterlist and scour their names but went home grumbling.

Voters from Barangay 76-A (Bucana) in Cesario Villa Abrille Elementary School swarmed student volunteers from Davao Association of Colleges and Schools to check on Comelec masterlist on computer laptops to check on their names.

According to the volunteers’ team leader, Gabriel Suarez, most of the complainants were either newly-registered voters or transferees to new residences.

Suarez said the list provided for them, which they obtained days before the election proper, were based on the May election and did not include the new registered voters for barangay elections last July.

He added that in such cases where names were not found in the precinct or masterlist, they advised people to go to the Comelec office to verify their names.

Some voters, particularly from the second district, were seen at the Comelec office in Magsaysay Park verifying their names.

“I need to vote. Grabe ang pila nako, ni-absent pa gyud ko (I stood in long queue to register, and I was even absent from work),” said one of the voters looking for her name at the Comelec office.

But according to Comelec area supervisors interviewed by Davao Today, the lists they provided were updated, and names were quickly verified.

Only one incident of election violation was reported when a candidate in the second district’s Brgy. Leon Garcia was reported by watchers to be conducting room-to-room campaign in the precincts. Atty. Cullo said he immediately checked on the incident and told the candidate to leave the premises. (davaotoday.com)

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