Maguindanao solons question move to nullify voters’ list
COTABATO CITY – Maguindanao’s two representatives in the Lower House said it appeared that the province was being singled out in the government’s move to nullify the voters’ list.
Commissioner Rene Sarmiento, in a recent radio interview here, said the Commission on Elections has received a petition to invalidate the voters’ list in Maguindanao and to use biometrics for the general listing.
“Why only Maguindanao?” Bai Sandra Sema of the province’s first district asked.
Sema said, “There are other provinces in the country where fraud and irregularities occurred in previous years.”
Representative Simeon Datumanong of Maguindanao’s second district said the move was surprising.
“I was surprised why only Maguindanao. If it’s due to cheating, this. was not the monopoly of Maguindanao,” he said.
“It’s quite unfair, quite unusual, is it persecution?” he asked.
Comelec ARMM director Rey Sumalipao said the poll body has found more than 100,000 multiple registrants in the ARMM’s five provinces with Lanao del Sur having the highest number of flying voters.
Without providing figures per province, Sumalipao said Maguindanao came in second and Sulu and Tawi-Tawi in third and fourth places, respectively.
“You see, Lanao del Sur has more multiple registrants but why erase Maguindanao’s existing voters’ records only?” Datumanong asked.
Sema said she would have supported the move “if the re-registration is done for the entire region.”
President Benigno Aquino III said on Thursday that he wanted the entire voter’s list in the ARMM scrapped for electoral reforms to take place.
Aqunio said ensuring clean elections in the five-province region could only be possible with a new registration of voters.
The Comelec denied Malacañang’s request for the annulment of the existing voters’ list in the region, citing time constraint as the reason.
During his visit here in March, Comelec chairman Sixto Brillantes said given the limited time, a voter’s re-registration could only be possible in Maguindanao.
“Cleansing all of the roads is very important. We understand that there will be moves by both chambers of Congress to reiterate the need for re-registration as far as ARMM is concerned to have credible elections,” Aquino said.
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