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Cebu News

Up to 6 yrs jail time for violators: Ballot selfies not allowed

Le Phyllis F. Antojado - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — Selfie addicts, beware. That photo on May 14 can send you to jail.

Bringing a camera inside a polling precinct and taking a selfie with accomplished ballots during the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections will constitute an election offense, according to Cebu election officer Ferdinand Gujilde.

“Voters are not allowed to bring cameras inside the polling place. Not only are they barred from bringing, they should not use them,” said Gujilde.

He explained that taking a picture with the ballot is an election offense because it violates the secrecy and sanctity of the ballot. Violators will face one to six years of imprisonment.

Gujilde, however, said a voter may divulge the names of the candidates he or she voted once he or she is already out of the polling place.

“Way problem if you divulge after, but imong gi-waive imong right sa secrecy of your ballot,” he said.

Meanwhile, inmates who wish to vote can do so, provided there is a court order that grants the move.

This as the Commission on Elections, according to Gujilde, will not hold special voting inside jail facilities.

“The Supreme Court issued a TRO (temporary restraining order) against that, so Comelec has decided to stop the practice. Inmates can still vote but they should have a court order for that,” he said.

The SC stopped inmates and detainees from participating in the local polls starting in the 2016 national elections.

The high court granted the petition filed by lawyer Victor Aguinaldo who argued that Comelec Resolution No. 9371 “has imperfections, inadequacies and deficiencies in its applications, and thus, creating uncertainties, loopholes, gaps and ambiguities in its provisions, application and/or implementation.”

The resolution lays down the rules and regulations on the detainees’ registration and voting for the May 13, 2013 national and local elections and onwards.

Gujilde said the Comelec cannot decide if an inmate could vote or not.

He said one of the concerns in allowing inmates and detainees to vote is their security. (FREEMAN)

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