Comelec says mall voting has legal basis
Rosette Adel (Philstar.com) - November 9, 2015 - 8:35pm
MANILA, Philippines - The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Monday defended its plan to allow voting in malls and said it is following the Constitution.
 
"Article 9 of the 1987 Constitution states that Comelec is empowered to determine polling precincts, the location of polling precincts,” Comelec Chair Juan Andres Bautista said on Monday.
 
“Our Law Department has come out already with a legal opinion on mall voting... We are not just trying to implement a statutory directory. We are actually trying to enforce a constitutional provision," he added.
 
The poll agency is looking to transfer one to four precincts with 800 to 900 registered voters in malls adjacent to a school in a city or municipality.
 
Comelec earlier formed a technical working group to review and asses the legal and operational issues pertaining to the poll body's plan to allow the electorate to vote at the malls in the upcoming 2016 elections.
 
Bautista cited that they wanted to prioritize the improvement of the accessibility of the polling precincts for persons with disabilities and senior citizens. He added that since in accordance with the provisions of the Republic Act 10366, authorizing them to establish accessible polling places for PWDs and senior citizens, malls is one of the chosen way to make it easier for the said voters.
 
“Lahat ng botante ay dapat nating tulungan. Alam natin na may mga ibang botante na because of their conditions, mas nangangailangan ng tulong. In which case, itong aming mall voting project ang primary consideration diyan ay ang ating vulnerable sector. We want this election to be as inclusive as possible. And we want every voter to have an opportunity to exercise his or her right of suffrage,” Bautista said.
 
Aside from the RA 10366, Section 42 of the Omnibus Election Code (OEC) states that appropriate private buildings may be designated as polling places “in case there is no public school or other public building that can be used as polling places."
 
The Comelec conducted its first dry run of the mall voting activity at the Eastwood Mall in Libis, Quezon City on Monday.

ALAM BAUTISTA COMELEC COMELEC CHAIR JUAN ANDRES BAUTISTA DIV EASTWOOD MALL NBSP OMNIBUS ELECTION CODE OUR LAW DEPARTMENT QUEZON CITY REPUBLIC ACT
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