In Barangay Kamagayan 57 removed from voters’ list
Mylen P. Manto (The Freeman) - March 16, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — Another 57 registered voters from various precincts in Barangay Kamagayan, Cebu City, were excluded anew from the list of voters after they failed to comply with the six-month residency requirement.

 

Municipal Trial Court in Cities Judge Dakila Dante Barcenas of Branch 2 directed the Election Registration Board of the Cebu City North District to exclude these 57 individuals from the list of voters.

“Based on the testimonial and documentary evidence presented, the court is convinced that the respondents have failed to comply with the six-month residency requirement considering that they have already transferred to and established their residence in Barangay Cubacub, Mandaue City, Cebu, after their houses in Barangay Kamagayan, Cebu City, were demolished sometime in 2003,” the decision read.

Exclusion proceedings essentially involve the issue whether or not a voter shall be excluded from the list of voters based on the qualification required by law and the facts presented to prove those requirements.

MTCC Judge Monalila Tecson of Branch 1 earlier ordered the exclusion of 64 registered voters of Barangay Kamagayan for their failure to appear in court despite due notice and/failure to adduce evidence to negate the allegations against them.

Atty. Florleane Sacares of SALiGAL Law said the prosecution was able to prove these individuals have been Barangay Cubacub for over 10 years now, thus they can no longer vote in Cebu City.

“While we agree that the right to vote is a constitutional right, we also need to remind our voters that there are requirements to follow before they can exercise that right. Residency requirement is one of these requirements. That is what is upheld by this court ruling,” Sacares said.

In their petitions, Enriquita Crispe, Anita Telen, and Gina Umbao asked for the exclusion of these individuals, claiming they no longer live there. They were relocated to Barangay Cubacub, specifically a lot that the Cebu City government acquired before the demolition.

“…since the lot where their houses were situated was privately owned lot and the owner was able to secure a writ of demolition, their houses were demolished sometime in 2003,” they said.

Delia Reyes, one of the respondents, testified that she was relocated to Barangay Cubacub, after a fire burned down her house beside D. Jakosalem Street, Barangay Kamagayan, in 2006.

She said she did not transfer as registered voter of Mandaue City because she has no intention to leave Barangay Kamagayan where she works as an employee of the barangay hall.

Reyes added she spent most of her time in Barangay Kamagayan and not in Barangay Cubacub, although she maintains a residence there.

In his decision, Barcenas said a voter must be a resident of the place where he or she intends to vote for at least six months, and it was clear these 57 failed to comply.

SPECIAL PRECINCTS

Meanwhile, the Commission on Elections will be providing a special election precinct where inmates can vote during the elections in May.

Acting Cebu provincial election supervisor Jerome Brillantes said that there will be a Special Board of Election Inspectors (SBEI) manning the special precincts to monitor and assist inmates from Cebu Province when they vote.

"Naa tay special board with the special precincts nga atong ibutang sa mga prisohan, just like in the Cebu City Jail naa na siyay special electoral board," he said

That SBEI will consist of three teachers, since under Republic Act No. 6646, it is mandatory for public school teachers to assist and serve as members of the Board of Elections Inspectors.

The BEI and SBEI will bring the filled-up ballots to the regular voting areas where the inmates are registered, he said.

"Depende asa sila na-kuan (registered), most likely kung nag, before man gud sa registration (for special voting) nag-kuan man mi anang mga prisohan nga registered na ni, so I cannot say asa," Brillantes said.

The special precinct will only be open until 3 p.m. during election day, unlike the regular voting precincts that will remain open until midnight, Brillantes said.

One special precinct can accommodate 50 inmates. Policemen will also be there to assist in securing BEI members.

"Secrecy of ballots will be highly observed… just like regular precincts,” he said.

Regarding absentee voting, Brillantes also said only those who applied last March 11 can avail of the special electoral precinct or also known as the Absentee Voting Act.

He added he cannot yet specify the exact date absentee voting will be available.

“Wa nako ka hinumdom anang voting, maybe earlier, earlier than that (referring to May 2019), mga April, something April,” Brillantes said. — Tanja Catherine R. Stöckli, USC intern BRP (FREEMAN)

BARANGAY KAMAGAYAN
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