Nullification of 632 ‘flying voters’ in SouthCot town sought

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 20 Nov) – Local officials of Tampakan town in South Cotabato have sought for the nullification of the applications for registration as local voters of 632 alleged “flying voters.”

Tampakan Vice Mayor Relly Leysa said Tuesday they filed a petition before the Commission on Elections (Comelec) for the exclusion of the questioned applicants in the town’s final list of voters due to residency problems.

“We verified the master list (of voter’s registration applicants) that we got from Comelec and found out that many of them were not residents of Tampakan,” he said.

The official said they obtained certifications from officials of barangays and puroks declaring the 632 applicants as non-residents of their areas.

He said it turned out that some of the applicants were official residents of nearby Koronadal City, Tupi town in South Cotabato and Columbio town in Sultan Kudarat.

Sources said some of the supposed “flying voters” had received P500 each in exchange for registering as a voter in the area.

Leysa, who is running for mayor in the 2013 elections under the Nationalist People’s Coalition-Liberal Party alliance, believes that some politicians were behind the registration in the area of the suspected “flying voters.”

The vice mayor will challenge re-electionist Mayor Leonardo Escobillo of the United Nationalist Alliance.

Leysa condemned the alleged registration irregularity as a dirty tactic by some parties, which he did not name, in connection with the upcoming polls.

“If this is their way to get their votes, then they’re not doing it right this early,” the vice mayor said.

Meantime, Tampakan election officer Anwar Paidumama assured in an interview at a local television station that they will scrutinize all questioned applications for voter’s registration to make sure that no “flying voter” will be included in the town’s list of voters.

He said they started on Monday the election registration board (ERB) hearing for all the applications for registration that they had received.

But 25 of the questioned applicants were so far approved by the ERB, which comprises the Comelec and representatives from the Department of Education and the Office of the Municipal Civil Registrar.

“Aside from declarations under oath that they were valid residents of their listed areas, they were able to present some accounts that backed up their applications like naming some of the teachers assigned there. For the ERB, these are sufficient enough to approve their applications,” Paidumama said. (Allen V. Estabillo / MindaNews)