The convenor of the Diocesan Electoral Board of the Diocese of Dumaguete, Msgr. Julius Perpetuo Heruela, appealed yesterday for more volunteers to be deployed in voting precincts during the May 9 elections.
Heruela, who is also the provincial chairman of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting, confirmed the need for additional volunteers due to the Supreme Court ruling that stipulates the printing of the voters' receipts.
The SC directed the Commission on Elections to print the voters' receipts for verification purposes as part of the security features of the new Vote Counting Machines that are to be used in the May 9 polls.
While these receipts are not to be taken out of the polling precinct, it would still entail additional manpower, considering that the three-member Board of Election Inspectors is already saddled with responsibilities on election day, Heruela said.
Ambassador Henrietta De Villa, national chairperson of the PPCRV, had encouraged PPCRVs in different parts of the country to recruit more volunteers for a specific task, which is to man the receptacles where the voters' receipts are to be placed.
Negros Oriental Provincial Election Supervisor-designate Lionel Castillano admitted that the new ruling is an additional load for the Comelec as it would entail personnel to ensure the voters' receipts are not brought out of the polling places.
Questions have been raised over the printing out of voters' receipts which could be used for vote-buying or vote-selling if these are not contained inside the precincts.
Heruela said it is imperative that those assigned inside the polling precincts must be extremely watchful and firm in asking every voter to drop his or her voter's receipt in the designated receptacle.
The DEB will conduct in mid-April a re-training on the printing of voters' receipts for the different parish coordinators, who were earlier trained on the use of the VCMs, he said.
General instructions from the national office of the PPCRV are being awaited before further activities are undertaken at the provincial level, Heruela added.*JFP
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