BACOLOD CITY—A 22-year-old woman has been charged with defamation by a top election officer here for calling the voter registration procedure in the city stupid for being chaotic.
Mavil Marajucon-Sia, Bacolod election officer, filed a complaint for grave oral defamation and grave abuse on a person of authority against Jane Flores Magbanua at a city police station.
Magbanua, a resident of Barangay (village) 20, on Monday protested what she said was the lack of order in the voter registration held at Bacolod Arts Youth and Sports Center on San Juan Street in the city downtown.
The Comelec decided to hold the registration at the center, which is beside its office, because it has a bigger space.
But the number of election personnel who handled the registration is not enough for the number of registrants who flocked to the center on the first day of the registration.
Sia was at the center when she heard someone calling her personnel stupid. She went to the queue of registrants and asked who uttered the word “stupid.”
Sia said Magbanua owned it up and uttered the word “stupid” again, this time directed at Sia.
The election officer immediately filed a complaint at the police station where Magbanua later apologized.
Sia said her move to file a complaint should serve as a lesson to teach people to respect government workers.
Hundreds of Bacolod residents, mostly young applicants, had lined up for hours outside Bays Center since Monday to register for the barangay and youth council elections.
Sia said the Comelec office had only 14 election staff members at that time.
Her staff members, she said, had to report at 6 a.m. to prepare since the registration, which will run until July 31 and starts at 8 a.m.
Sia said the process went slow because election officials were carefully screening applicants amid reports of registrants being made to register as voters in villages where they are not from.
The Comelec office, she said, also noticed signs of politicians manipulating some of the young applicants. In some instances, young applicants were seen receiving snacks from people known to be working for politicians.