Voter fraud incidents mar barangay elections: LENTE by Jojo Malig,

Media Coverage February 20, 2014 11:26 AM

MANILA – Flying voters, double voting, and “ghost” voters marred the generally orderly barangay elections held Monday nationwide, an official of a poll watchdog said.

Lawyer Rona Ann Caritos, executive director of Legal Network for Truthful Elections (LENTE), told ANC Top Story that the attitude of candidates became worse this year compared to the 2010 barangay elections.

“We received a lot of reports of candidates campaigning on the day of elections, their candidates giving flyers and pamphlets,” she said.

Caritos highlighted the problem regarding flying voters.

“A lot of people were not able to vote because someone already voted in their name,” she said.

Authorities must strictly implement the biometrics law in the next elections to solve the problem, she added.

“I don’t think anything can be done regarding attitutude of candidates,” Caritos said. “For the 2016 elections, all voters will be required to have their biometrics taken.”

“With this law, our problem with flying voters, ghost voters, double voters will be eliminated,” she added.

She also raised a call for more accountability regarding election law violators. “If barangay elections will push through in 2016, we are calling for more accountability, more law violators to be punished.”

“What we are see right now is impunity of election law violators. Candidates and their supporters are violating the law left and right,” she added.

Caritos said the Commission on Elections (Comelec) should set an example by having some of the violators punished and jailed.

Better than 2010 polls

She, however, agreed with the Comelec’s assessment that the polls held Monday were better than in 2010.

“The conduct of the election today is way better than in the 2010 elections. The 2010 elections were marred by delay in the delivery of ballots,” she explained.

“In the exercise of today’s elections, there were a number of delays but elections were held on time in almost all of the polling places in the country,” she added.

She said the Comelec is better prepared this time compared to the previous barangay elections.

Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. said the poll body monitored some incidents involving strafing, ballot snatching and delays but the elections were generally smooth.

“We have a total of about 18 incidents. Just for the record, 42,000 barangays ito so you’ll notice there are many contests involved. So iyung 18 out of 42,000 contests all over the country is very, very minimal. Halos wala ho,” he said.

“These are very isolated cases. Hindi ho talaga napakarami. When you compare it to the statistics of 2010, I think we’re very much lower for the 2013, so okay lang tayo,” he added.

Police earlier said 22 people had been killed in the 4-week run-up to the polls, half of them incumbent officials running for re-election. – with reports from ANC and Agence France-Presse



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