No extension of ARMM special voters’ registration—ComelecBy Jerome Aning
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—The Commission on Elections has no plans to extend the ongoing 10-day special registration of voters in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
“No more [extensions], because if we allow one, there might be requests again for another. It would be endless. So our position is the registration would only be from July 9 to 18,” Comelec Commissioner Rene Sarmiento told reporters on Wednesday.
Sarmiento also disputed arguments by groups requesting for an extension that the Comelec had to hastily conduct the special registration following a resolution passed by Congress in May and signed by the President last month.
“[The special registrations] was announced long ago. Why do they want an extension when the registration period is 10 days. They have one week more. As of today, our policy is no extension,” the commissioner added.
Sarmiento, citing data reaching the Comelec office in Manila, said around 75,000 people registered in the ARMM in the first day and another 175,000 in the second day.
“So more or less we have 175,0000 who have already registered. Let’s just say that if the trend is 100,000 more or less [would be registering every day], the total might reach 1 to 1.1 million. That would be okay compared to the original 1.7 million,” he said.
Congress pushed for the annulment of the book of voters in ARMM, which had about 1.7 million voters in the 2010 polls, after a study conducted by the National Statistics Office indicated discrepancies in the total population of the region, which led to suspicions that the book of voters was padded by phantom, double, multiple or minor registrants.
“We’re happy with 1 million [registered voters]. That means we really cleansed [ARMM of phantom and unqualified voters]. If we’ll still have 1.7 million, then it means the special registration is pointless, but I think it will not reach that number,” Sarmiento said.