May 10, 2010
DAVAO CITY- With an escalating number of voters complaining from long hours of waiting before getting a priority number or opting to go home because of the confusing system of voting, the people’s watchdog, Pagbabago, fears the possible massive disenfranchisement of voters this election.
Reports reaching the Pagbabago Hotline numbers consist of complaints regarding mismanagement of the polling precincts where a voter would have to wait for 2 to 4 hours just to get a priority number.
One precinct in Sta. Ana casted only 100 votes as of 11:40 in the morning when in fact there are a total of 787 voters as reported to the Pagbabago hotline.
“Aside from the long hours that would take for the voters from getting their priority numbers, there are also cases where the PCOS machines would reject the ballot for four times before accepting it making it slow for the voting process to continue,” said Bishop Constante Claro, Pagbabago Convenor.
Another case reported to the Pagbabago Hotline was a malfunction of a PCOS machine in a precinct cluster in Buhangin, Davao City which was later fixed by the SMARTMATIC technician.
“This is what we have been anticipating. The lack of preparation for the automated election system or the new election system would only cause conflict and confusion among the voters. Majority of the voters got frustrated and disappointed with the new system, prompting them, then, to go home and not to vote,” Bishop Claro said.
“On the other hand, we are sympathetic to the Board of Election Inspectors and the volunteer assistors who receive harsh comments from the angry voters and to the voters who argue with each other every time a priority number is given to other voters. We are all victims here of the Comelec’s delay and with the unprepared automated election itself.” said Bishop Claro.
“We also fear that this trend will be used by the Malacanang to effect the Oplan Rafael or the plan to perpetuate Pres. Arroyo in power through failure of election,” he added.
Bishop Constante Claro