No stopping mall voting, says Comelec
Despite being told that it is illegal and that preparations for it are being conducted beyond the period allowed, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) is pushing through with mall voting in 101 barangays nationwide on May 9.
Comelec Chair Andres Bautista said the poll agency had met all the requirements for transferring 337 clustered precincts to 80 participating malls.
“We have this March 10 minute resolution from the Comelec en banc allowing the transfer of the clustered precincts to participating malls,” Bautista said.
He said the commission en banc had given him the authority to enter into memorandums of agreement with the mall managements.
Earlier, Bautista cited the Constitution, particularly Article IX-C, Section 2 (3), as well as Sections 153 and 154 of the Omnibus Election Code, as giving the Comelec the power to designate polling places.
In a press briefing earlier this week, former Comelec Commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal said mall voting could not be legally implemented with less than a month until Election Day.
He said the Omnibus Election Code did not allow the transfer of polling precincts 45 days before an election.
He also questioned the lack of a Comelec resolution specifying which polling precincts would be transferred to shopping malls.
“The problem here is that it will cause massive disenfranchisement because all the votes of the precincts moved to malls will be nullified. If the transfer of the clustered precincts is illegal, the proceedings of the board of election inspectors in those clustered precincts are illegal. Then all the votes in those clustered precincts are null and void,” Larrazabal said.
Bautista, however, explained that Minute Resolution 16-0152 contained the final data on the transfer of 337 clustered precincts, and their 231,174 voters, to the participating malls nationwide.
The new polling precincts will be at 27 SM malls, 20 Robinsons, 14 Ayala malls, five WalterMarts, five Gaisano Grand Malls, three Pacific Malls, three City Malls, and one each at Sta. Lucia Mall, Fisher Mall and CB Mall. Tina G. Santos
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