Panay News : Bing seeks inhibition of city poll officer over ‘unusual’ influx of transferee-registrants

21 September 2021

By Mae Singuay | Panay News

BACOLOD City – Mayor Evelio Leonardia called on Negros Occidental’s Commission on Elections (Comelec) provincial supervisor Ma. Fatima Aspan to inhibit herself from assuming as acting city poll officer here.

There’s a “sudden and extremely unusual influx” of transferee-registrants from out-of-town areas at the Bacolod Comelec office early this week, Leonardia said.

The concurrent provincial Comelec supervisor was designated as acting Bacolod election officer starting Sept. 14 by Comelec-6 Director Wilfredo Jay Balisado, after a staff of the city Comelec office contracted coronavirus disease.

For her part, Aspan said she will remain in her post until the Comelec-6 recalls her designation.

According to Aspan, it is the right of the voters to transfer and they will be accommodated as long as they have met all the requirements.

In his letter to Aspan dated Sept. 16, Leonardia claimed that observers, including members of the media and police personnel, “witnessed throngs of supposed out-of-town registrants” since Tuesday with “many of them bringing rice cookers, mats, mattresses, rice, canned goods and cans of biscuits, tagging along with them even children, who are mostly minors”.

Aspan said it is not the obligation of the poll body to control the people queuing from the Comelec office along San Juan Street to the Bacolod Public Plaza, but the duty of the Task Force Disiplina and the police.

Meanwhile, Comelec-6 assistant director, Atty. Tomas Valera, said when the registration deadline is near there is “normally” an influx of applicants coming in to every Comelec offices.

“This is not only being noticed in Bacolod but also in Iloilo City,” he added.

Valera said the easing of community quarantine of a local government is one factor why registrants flocked to the Comelec offices.

The deadline of voters’ registration will be on Sept. 30./PN