ANTIPOLO CITY, Dec. 29, 2009—Even as he cheered the first time voters for 2010, Kabataan Rep. Raymond “Mong” Palatino appealed anew to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to continue uphold the Supreme Court ruling that extends the voters’ registration until 09 January 2010. The statement came as voters’ registration closes today, December 29th.
“The extended voters’ registration was indeed a success and it has been an encouragement for more youth to participate in the 2010 national polls. That is our real objective when we filed before the Supreme Court a petition for the extension of the voters’ registration,” the 29-year old solon stated.
The young solon chastised the attitude of some Comelec officials, belittling the turnout of the extended registration. Unlike what is expected, new registrants only numbered 100,000 while the projection is up to a million new voters.
“It is already a big thing that another 100,000 new voters have added to our list. If we will tally the 200-300 new registrants per day, for at least 1,000 municipalities nationwide, that is [already] a big leap towards youth voters’ participation in the 2010 polls,” he explained.
However, the low registrants’ turnout is to be blamed to the unwarranted statements issued by the Comelec.
“The fact that the Comelec was openly unwelcoming to the SC ruling was a general discouragement to prospective new registrants. In addition to this, such statement that new registrants would just be ‘chance passengers,’ who would only have their chance to vote if there are some spare ballots, is also discouraging,” Palatino said.
Still, the young solon renewed his appeal to Comelec to implement the SC ruling to the fullest.
“Hundreds of thousands in five days could reach one million if only the Comelec would comply and continue accepting registrants until the designated date on January 9,” the lawmaker said.
Meanwhile, Kabataan Party-list complained earlier the 200-cap per day for new registrants, saying that the voter registration process had limited the number of registrants and had sent home prospective first time voters, frustrated.
Palatino cited the case of new registrants in Iloilo City, whom as of 5:00 p.m. of December 28, only 1,211 new voters have registered because of the cap.
“Today, as of 11:00 a.m., 500 more have lined up but Comelec had announced that they would only be accepting 150,” Palatino stated.
Palatino said his group would file a manifestation before the Supreme Court to clarify the matter and to ensure that “voter registration would be conducted more efficiently and systematically next time.” (CBCPNews.com)