The Inbox

30 flying registrants nabbed in Lanao Sur

By Froilan Gallardo, MindaNews and VERA Files

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY — Army soldiers swooped into the town of Maguing in Lanao del Sur and arrested 30 suspected flying registrants today, the last day of the two-week registration of voters in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.An Army tank sits at a checkpoint in Lanao del Sur on the first day of the 10-day re-listing of voters in the Autonomous …

The crackdown came as the Commission on Elections reported they received 407,367 voters' applications in Marawi City and 23 towns in Lanao del Sur on Wednesday morning.

Comelec Commissioner Armando Velasco said he sent Army soldiers to Maguing town after they received reports that the voters' applications have already exceeded the old list of voters.

He said as early as 10:30 a.m. on the last day of registration, they already had 16,872 applications in Maguing town, whereas the old voters' list only had 16,425 registered voters. "

At 10:30 in the morning, the turnout in Maguing was already 102 percent. We still have five hours until the registration closes at 5 p.m.," Velasco said earlier in the day.

The Army's 103rd Infantry Brigade quickly mustered enough forces and went to Maguing town to check on the flying registrants.

Col. Daniel Lucero, 103IB commander, said they found the suspected flying registrants loitering near the registration centers in Maguing town.

He said many of those arrested came from the neighboring provinces of Lanao del Norte and Misamis Oriental, and Iligan City.

"Many of them told us they were victims of Typhoon Sendong. They were promised to be paid P2,000 each if they come to register in Maguing," Lucero said.

He said the suspects were released after they were brought to Marawi City and investigated for their real identities. An electoral watchdog, the Citizens Care in Lanao del Sur, said local politicians are offering flying registrants from P500 to P1,000.

The town of Maguing is always a potential hot spot for vote buying during past elections. In the 2004 elections, the late Hadji Abdullah "Lacs" Dalidig, who headed the local chapter of the Natioanal Movement for Free Elections (Manfred) then, reported that local politicians paid as much as P10,000 for every voter in the municipality.

The Commission on Elections has purged the entire voters' list in Lanao del Sur and the four provinces that comprise the ARMM in an effort to rid the region of the image as "cheating capital of the Philippines."

Velasco said they are satisfied of the 77 percent turnout of potential voters in Lanao del Sur despite allegations that many of the registrants were minors and politicians brought in registrants from nearby provinces.

Velasco said 407,367 applied to become voters in Lanao del Sur. He said the old voters' list in Lanao del Sur contained 522,000 names.

"If turnout hits 100 percent, then we can say we failed in the exercise. We think taking off 15-20 percent from the old voters' list is okay," he pointed out.

He said the number of applications will still go down because many election officers who manned the biometric machines noted "underage" to the application of registrants who "appear to be minors."

"The list will still be whittled down as soon as we see how many applications are marked 'underage'," Velasco said.

He said he gave instructions to election officers to mark the applications during their training in Cagayan de Oro and Iligan cities days before the registration started last July 9.

"We do not like trouble erupting at the registration centers. So the instructions were to mark discretely the application papers," he said.

Velasco said political parties, politicians and concerned citizens still have until August 17 to oppose any application of the voters.

He said these complaints will be decided in the Comelec office in Manila.

Still, Sinab Ibrahim, head of the Citizens Care Lanao del Sur Management Center, said the Comelec could have done better in checking the irregularities during the registration.

Ibrahim said the Comelec dropped its mandatory requirement for a prospective applicant to show two government-issued identification cards when he or she applies to be a voter in Lanao del Sur and other provinces in the ARMM.

Section 10 of the Comelec Resolution 9443 states that applicants should present either an NBI or police clearance, postal ID, student or school ID, passport, SSS or GSIS ID, license from the Professional Regulatory Commission, Integrated Bar of the Philippines ID, or a driver's license.

Cedulas, or community tax certificates, are not honored by the Comelec because these have no pictures. "Because the Comelec made a last-minute decision to drop the presentation of IDs, it opened the floodgates for flying registrants," Ibrahim said.

She said they also noticed that many election officers — who mostly came from neighboring provinces of Lanao del Norte, Misamis Oriental, Misamis Occidental and Bukidnon — relied "too much " on barangay officials to help them identify the registrants.

She said this is very controversial since many barangay officials in Lanao del Sur are partisans to certain politicians.

(ARMM WATCH  is a project of VERA Files in partnership with MindaNews, The Asia Foundation and Australian Agency for International Development. VERA Files is put out by  veteran journalists taking a deeper look at current issues. VERA is Latin for "true.")

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Philips Gold finally shines

    Philips Gold made 11 service aces on its way to beating Mane ‘N Tail, 25-19, 27-25, 25-16, for its first victory in the Philippine Super Liga (PSL) All-Filipino Coinference Monday night at The Arena in San Juan.Former College of St. Benilde standout Rossan Fajardo had six aces as part of her 10-point output as the Lady Slammers finally barged into the win column after losing their first two matches.Ex-National University star Myla Pablo led Philips Gold with 14 points highlighted by 12 kills, …

  • Turkish Airlines starts direct Manila-Istanbul flights 3 times a week

    Turkish Airlines, Turkey’s flag carrier, launched on March 30 its thrice weekly direct, non-stop flights between Istanbul and Manila at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 1 and plans to operate a daily service between the two cities, eventually, announced Chief Marketing Officer Ahmet Olmustur. Last November 2014, the Philippines and Turkey signed an expanded air services agreement granting Turkish carriers three frequencies per week to Manila and Clark. In accordance with …

  • Azkals bow to Bahrain

    The Philippine Azkals fell short in their bid to salvage a draw and fell 2-1 to Bahrain Monday night in an international friendly match at the Bahrain National Stadium in Manama. Faouzi Mubarak struck the opening goal for the home side in the 29th minute before Abdulla Yaser doubled the lead two minutes later with a booming shot from 25 yards out. Fil-German midfielder Manny Ott gave the Azkals a ray of hope when he scored from just outside the box in the 61st. National team Coach Thomas …

  • Alcalas dominate rivals

    In a brilliant show of power and speed, Mark Alcala downed fierce rival and Philippine team member Ross Leonard Pedroza, 21-16, 23-21, to win the men’s singles open title. Alcala lost her No. 1 ranking after focusing on her studies at the University of the Philippines, but she’s willing to sacrifice once again in order to represent the country in future international tournaments. …

  • Girl, grandma hurt in land mine blast

    A 12-year-old girl, who was on her way to her graduation, was wounded together with her grandmother after they were hit by a landmine blast planted near their family’s residence at Sitio Totoy, Barangay San Jose, Monkayo town, Compostela Valley (ComVal) province. Lt. Vergel U. Lacambra, chief of the Public Affairs Office (PAO) of the Army’s 10th Infantry (Agila) Division (10th ID), reported that Marcelyn Domicillo and her 58-year-old grandmother Rosallia Andaya were taken to a hospital in …

  • Army paddlers outlast Navy

    Army began where it left off the previous year, turning back arch rival Navy to rule the men’s 300-meter standard race in the opening leg of the 2015 Cobra Energy Drink-PDBF Dragon Boat Regatta held over the weekend at the Manila Bay.Overall champions the past season, the Army paddlers made their move in the last 100 meters to emerge clear winners in one minute and 7.67 seconds of the event sponsored by the country’s leading energy drink, Cobra, and organized by the Philippine Dragon Boat …

  • Awareness: April Fool’s Day

    On April 1, be wary of people who may borrow money or play practical jokes on you. It’s April Fool’s Day! While believed to be of Western origin, April Fool’s Day is observed in many countries of the world, including the Philippines. April Fool’s Day is that day of the year when people take the opportunity to fool around a bit by playing practical jokes on the gullible. …

  • All-out peace, says PNoy

    President Aquino reiterates that the best option for the government is all-out peace, not all-out war. *** Likewise, the Philippine National Police (PNP) calls for a peaceful and orderly observance of the Holy Week nationwide, as hundreds of thousands of people go on an exodus to major tourist spots and the provinces. A blessed Holy Week! *** The President dismisses calls for an all-out war against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) for the Masasapano tragedy and instead will …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options