Complaints aired vs Lanao canvassing venue’s unsanitary condition

The stench came from the left-over food of poll watchers who stayed inside the gym.

Not daring to leave because of the tight security imposed by Army soldiers, the poll watchers used the stage as their makeshift toilet, worsening the situation.

The gym is the venue for the simultaneous counting of ballots for two municipalities. At least 200 poll watchers stay inside the gym until the counting of ballots is over.

Lawyers and soldiers described the unsanitary conditions in the gym as "a health hazard."

Election special action officer Roy Prule said he nearly puked when he entered the gym to bring the ballot boxes from the town of Butig last Monday.

Prule said he had asked the Commission on Elections national headquarters in Manila to find a new venue for the counting of ballots for the town of Butig.

He said it would be preferable if the venue will be transferred to the gym at the Mindanao State University.

"We should pull out our volunteers from that place," Carlos Medina, co-convernor of Lente, the lawyers poll watch dog, said.

Medina said one lawyer from their group got sick when she went to the gym to monitor the counting of votes.

Col. Raynard Ronnie Javier, commanding officer of the Army 103rd Brigade, said they  brought fire trucks Monday night to bring water to clean the gym.

"I am afraid my soldiers will get sick because of the poor conditions inside the gym," Javier said.

He said the Comelec should have anticipated the influx of people inside the gym and provided portable toilets and garbage bins.

Journalists and NGO volunteers also observed the same conditions in the other venues of the counting in Amai Pakpak Elementary School , Marawi City National High School and Marawi People's Park. (Froilan Gallardo/MindaNews)