Lanao town put under Comelec controlInquirer Mindanao
Elections Commissioner Armando Velasco, who oversees the general registration in Lanao del Sur, has placed the municipal hall of Lumbaca-Unayan under the control of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) following threats of more violence that could disrupt the voter list-up.
Authorities have stepped up security measures amid fears of more schemes to pad the voters’ roll toward the latter part of the registration period that ends on July 18.
“All incumbent officials of Lumbaca-Unayan must not be found in the registration centers,” Velasco ordered.
The Lumbaca-Unayan town hall has been designated as a registration center. It is also where its mayor, Itomama Guro, reportedly holds residence.
Last week, Said Guro, 17, a relative of Itomama, was killed by suspected hired assassins after he led efforts to block flying registrants from being included in the voter list-up.
Abumama Guro, Said’s uncle, implicated his brother, Itomama, in the incident.
Lanao del Sur police chief Senior Superintendent Romeo Magsalos said they have secured the promise of the parties not to resort to violence to give way to an orderly conduct of registration.
Magsalos added that they were devoting much effort to secure the voter registration machines, the election officials, and registration centers in the tail-end of the list-up to thwart any plans to disrupt its peaceful conduct.
Concerns on the security of Mindanao State University students also heightened after some 30 of them reported to authorities that they were coerced to register as voters of Marawi City.
Samira Ali-Gutoc, an assemblywoman of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), said the Army and police have recommended constant surveillance by roving security personnel on their boarding houses.
The relative success in preventing the influx of flying registrants could lead to fewer Maranao minors being made to register, said Maranao youth activist Abul Alibasa.
He also warned of possible moves to disenfranchise qualified registrants by preventing them from applying as voters, especially by political camps not able to gain their support.
As of 9 a.m. of July 14, Velasco told reporters some 245,525 applications have been processed. This represents some 47 percent of the 522,417 registered voters in the province as of April 2011.
Velasco clarified that these numbers are not yet registered voters but voter applications because these still needed approval by the Election Registration Boards (ERBs).
He said complaints about minors who submitted applications would be dealt with by the ERBs.
He added that the Comelec would examine the possibility of deploying nonresident election officers to oversee the ERB processes to make these immune from local pressure.
The voter list-up is run by election officers from other areas of the country.
Velasco also revealed that instead of going to the ERB process, the commissioners are inclined to have the applications go through the matching process first using the Automated Fingerprint Identification System (Afis) database.
Velasco said the Afis matching is 100-percent accurate.
Those who are already registered in one place and found to have registered in the ARMM would be charged with violation of the election laws, he added. Ryan D. Rosauro, Inquirer Mindanao
Tags: Automated Fingerprint Identification System , Commission on Elections , Election Registration Boards , Elections , Elections Commissioner Armando Velasco , Lanao del Sur , Lumbaca-Unayan , Senior Superintendent Romeo Magsalos