Comelec warned vs voters’ registration anomalies in Lanao del Sur

John Unson - Philstar.com
Comelec warned vs voters� registration anomalies in Lanao del Sur
The provincial government center in Lanao del Sur.
Philstar.com / John Unson

COTABATO CITY, Philippines  — The provincial government of Lanao del Sur and its constituent communities want the poll body to prevent possible anomalies during the December 12 registration of voters in the province.

Lanao del Sur province in the Bangsamoro region is a traditional election hotspot and, like other provinces around, non-residents and underage registrants can conveniently maneuver --- via manipulations by shrewd politicians --- their way through listing sites for inclusion in the list of voters.

Lanao del Sur Gov. Mamintal Adiong Jr. on Saturday appealed to the Commission on Elections to focus attention on “machinations” meant to increase the number of voters in barangays in the province and elsewhere to suit the vested interest of manipulators.

The Comelec had set a nationwide registration of voters on December 12 in preparation for the forthcoming 2023 barangay elections.

Adiong said poll officials who are to oversee the listing process must see to it that registrants are of voting ages and are from barangays where they are to register as qualified voters.

“In case of doubts, registrants must be asked to present valid birth certificates and certification attesting to their residency from barangay officials,” Adiong said.

He said there is always a glaring influx to Lanao del Sur municipalities of outsiders wanting to have themselves listed each time the Comelec conducts registration of voters.

Lanao del Sur covers 39 towns and more than 90 barangays in its capital, Marawi City.

Senior members of the Lanao del Sur Ulama Council, a big, influential peace advocacy bloc of Islamic missionaries, among them graduates of religious schools in the Middle East and North Africa, told reporters Saturday they support their governor’s appeal to the Comelec.

“There are people smuggling non-qualified prospective registrants into their municipalities just to increase the number of voters who are to vote for them during the actual polling day,” one of the preachers, who asked not to be identified, said.

Adiong said preventing registration irregularities can help ensure clean and peaceful barangay elections in 2023 and, subsequently, during the 2025 local and Bangsamoro regional elections.

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