Philippines’s poll body to probe missing voters names

May. 16, 2007

MANILA — As it continues to receive complaints from people who failed to vote in Mondays elections because their names were not on posted computerized voters lists (PCVLs), the Commission on Elections (Comelec) created a committee to investigate these incidents.

At a press conference, Comelec chairman Benjamin Abalos said although the committee is yet to meet, this early I can tell you that we may have misprinted some names.

But Abalos refused to estimate how many voters were disenfranchised this way.

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May 16, 2007 ARENA FORUM Page 5


We do not deny that there was disenfranchisement but [reports] have to be validated whether this is just one or two cases. We would not let this go. The committee would precisely go into the reasons why this happened, he said.

Abalos said the committee would include election commissioners Resurreccion Borra, who oversees the printing of the voters lists, and Nicodemo Ferrer, who oversees the election and barangay affairs department.

Borra admitted that the reports of disenfranchisement are significant since these involve people who are able and willing to vote, but failed to do so because their names were not on the PCVLs.

He said the committee, which may be able to focus on the problem only after the canvassing for senators and party-list groups, would look into the systems and processes in the production of these lists.

According to him, the list is originally prepared by the election officers in the field and then submitted to the central office for consolidation.

We will look precisely for the malfunction or dysfunction in this technology-oriented system. We will quantify the disenfranchisement and make recommendations that would be embedded in the modernization program, Borra said.

Lawyer Adolfo Ibaez, head of the Comelec Special Action Center, which receives complaints, said a number of voters have called in to report that they were unable to exercise their right to suffrage because their names were missing from the voters lists.

He noted that only the names of those who were not able to vote in two consecutive elections should be stricken from the lists. (PIA Dispatch)

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