Comelec protest vs. 72 new voter registrants withdrawn



A petitioner from Barangay Mansilingan withdrew on Wednesday the protest filed against 72 of the 98 new registrants, who claimed to be residing in the barangay.

The same thing happened to the petitions from barangays 36, Cabug, Bata, Taculing, and Mandalagan, where the oppositors also withdrew their petitions against majority of the applicants after their identities were verified.

Less than 10 of the 242 new registrants being protested may be disqualified, Bacolod Election Officer, Atty. Kathrina Trinio-Caña, said, after most of the protests were withdrawn by the petitioners.

She said that per initial evaluation, only less than 10 might be disqualified after it was found out during the series of hearings held by the Election Registration Board since July 19 that they were no longer residing in their original places, or have sold their properties.

Most of the protests were withdrawn before the face-off of the petitioners and the new registrants at the Comelec office, she added.

Caña said the withdrawal of the petitions by the complainants themselves only proves that the issues against Bacolod Comelec of not verifying the credentials of registrants are not true.

After four days of hearing, no one was found as “flying” registrants, or those who are also registered to vote in other places.

The ERB will conclude on July 23 the summary hearings of the applications of the 242 registrants, including that of former congressman Alfredo Benitez, who filed a transfer of voter record registration from Victorias City.

Caña said they are going to deliberate on July 23 the petitions against the 49 registrants from Barangay Mansilingan, with most of them also included in the list of those withdrawn by a petitioner.

The ERB is also expected to deliberate on the position paper submitted by Benitez on his answer to the additional evidences proffered by three residents of Barangay Mandalagan, who testified on July 19 that he never stayed in the house that he claimed is owned by his family.

The ERB, composed of Caña, Schools Division head Gladys Amylaine Sales, and Atty. Hermilo Paoyon – head of the Civil Registrar Office, is expected to come up with their decision next week on how many will be disqualified.

The list of approved voters is also expected to be released next week, to notify concerned individuals, while Comelec will make a separate posting and notification to the counsels of both parties about the petition against Benitez. – MML