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Bautista: Comelec en banc approves mall voting 'in principle'

Poll chief Andres Bautista on Tuesday announced that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) en banc has approved the "idea" of mall voting.

"In principle, the idea of mall voting was approved by the Commission -- the idea -- 6-1," Bautista said during the Comelec's weekly press briefing.

Bautista said that during Tuesday's en banc meeting, he presented the "advantages" of mall voting, adding that it is "an off-shoot" of their experience in bringing satellite offices in malls for voters' registration.

He said that they already have a draft memorandum of agreement (MOA) that will be signed with the malls' managements.

Bautista, however, said said that they have yet to finalize details of mall voting, particularly the number of precincts that will be moved.

"'Yung draft ng MOA will be reviewed by the commissioners for comments, as well as by the law department," he said.

He added that the report from the technical working group looking into the proposal is due next week.

During a walk-through of the mock mall voting last October 23, Bautista said holding polls at malls is "the direction we're headed to" for the May 9, 2016 elections.

However, he said hearings will still have to be conducted to get the opinion of political parties and voters from precincts that will likely be moved to the malls. 

He added that the biggest challenge is determining the said precincts, due December 15.

"To manage expectations, ililipat lang 'yung located near the barangays where the malls are located, at titingnan kung ilan ang puwede," he said.

Bautista said that according to the poll body's law department, mall voting abides by election rules, despite reservations by some lawmakers and poll watchdogs, who said this might compromise the polls with "other obstructions." —ALG, GMA News