Comelec: BEIs are supreme in the polling precinctBy Jose Santino S. Bunachita
Cebu Daily News
As “deputies” of the Commission on Elections (Comelec), the members of the Board of Election Inspectors (BEI) were given their final briefing.
The BEIs were reminded to exercise their “supreme power” inside the polling precinct and that they should know their rights and duties so as not to be easily harassed by politicians and supporters.
The BEIs per precinct are composed of three persons: the chairman, poll clerk, and the third member—all are public schools teachers.
Comelec Cebu City-South District officer Ferdinand Gujilde admitted that some BEIs are not aware of how crucial their functions are within the polling places.
“Anything that the BEI decides inside the polling place is final and executory,” said Gujilde.
The BEI can request those not authorized to be inside the polling precinct to leave to protect them from being harassed or intimidated.
Gujilde said those allowed to be in the polling precinct are BEIs, their support staff, a representative from the Comelec, technical people summoned by the BEI, voters, watchers, and other persons specifically authorized by Comelec through an accreditation, like the media.
Gujilde said that members of the media are not allowed to interview BEIs, voters and watchers inside the polling place.
Party lawyers cannot enter a polling place unless they are voters or watchers.
But he revealed that Comelec has accredited some foreign observers to go inside the polling precincts and they are allowed to interview the BEIs as long as it does not disrupt any of their responsibilities.
During yesterday’s briefing Gujilde also refreshed some reminders during election day.
There will be no giving of priority numbers. Voters should fall in line. There will be two lanes, express and regular. The express lane is for Persons with Disabilities (PWD), pregnant women and the elderly.
Only 20 voters at a time are allowed inside the precinct.
Gujilde also said that poll watchers “are our adversaries in the precinct.”
He stressed that only watchers whose names and signatures were presented to the Comelec office before April 28 are authorized watchers. Comelec will be giving the list to the BEIs.
Watchers aren’t allowed to speak to any member of the BEI or any voter as it may distract the proceedings.