Solons urge Comelec: Next time, put names of party-lists in front of ballots
MANILA, Philippines — Lawmakers have urged the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to print the party-list contenders in front of the ballot in the 2022 presidential elections.
“I just hope that next elections ilagay ninyo sa harap kasi mahirap po ‘yung ganun lalo na sa mga illiterate na hindi nila alam na meron pa po sa likod,” Surigao del Sur 2nd District Rep. Johnny Pimentel said during the House inquiry into the May 13 automated and midterm elections, Wednesday.
Pimentel also said even some of his fellow congressmen forgot to vote for party-lists because it was printed at the back.
Ako Bicol Rep. Alfredo Garbin Jr. also shared the same concern, claiming that only less than 50 percent of the more than 63 million registered voters were able to vote for the party-list sector.
“Why do we say that we from the party-list coalition say that there seems to be a failure of elections on the part of party-lists, eh kasi naman 42 percent lang ang bumoto. Twenty seven out of the 63 million lang,” Garbin said in a separate press conference, noting that around 20 incumbent party-lists failed to secure a seat in the 18th Congress.
Coop Natcco Rep. Anthony Bravo pointed out that it was the first time that the Comelec used the back of the ballots.
“Ever since election ng party-list, lagi ho nasa harap ‘yan… This is the first time sa likod. Bakit party-list ang nilagay hindi local?” Bravo asked.
Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said they would take the proposal into consideration, adding that the ballot design would have to be approved by the Comelec. He also said teachers who served as Board of Election Inspectors were trained and briefed about the changes in the ballot format.
Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting Director Arwin Serrano also defended the Comelec’s decision to print the party-lists at the back of the ballot. He argued that it made the ballot paper shorter and that the new ballot face was introduced as early as February this year.
“Maagang siniwalat ‘yung mukha ng balota… Sigurado naman na kung responsableng botante siya, hahanapin nya ‘yung mga kandidato dun sa balota,” Serrano said.
Jimenez confirmed that during the 2016 elections, the names of party-lists were placed in front together with other candidates for local and national elective posts. He has yet to confirm if the same format was followed in 2013 and in 2010 when the first automated election was held.
The lawmakers, led by House public accounts chair and Minority Leader Danilo Suarez, also renewed their call to revert to manual voting and counting but still electronic transmission of the results of the 2022 elections.
Jimenez said Congress should first amend the Republic Act No. 9369 which amended the Automated Election Law. He also Comelec would look into the proposal. (Editor: Jonathan P. Vicente)
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.