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Senate panels OK nullification of ARMM voters’ list


The Senate electoral reforms and people’s participation together with the finance committee approved on Friday a joint resolution seeking to nullify the voters’ list of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
 
“The committee just approved Joint Resolution No. 17 which calls for the cancellation of the municipal voters’ list in all the municipalities in the ARMM and the suspension of the registration in Visayas and Mindanao and whatever areas that [the] Comelec (Commission on Elections) will find necessary,” Senator Franklin Drilon, the resolution’s principal author, told reporters after a joint committee hearing.
 
“The commitment is that by Dec. 10, 2012, we will have a new voters’ list in the ARMM,” Drilon, also the finance committee chairman, said. Senator Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III chairs the Senate electoral reform and people's participation committee.
 
On Tuesday, Drilon and 17 other senators filed the joint resolution ordering Comelec to conduct a new general registration of voters in all municipalities and cities in the region.
 
According to the joint resolution, “the electoral history of the ARMM shows that election results in these areas are always questionable and tainted with anomaly and irregularity, principally because of the padded Book of Voters.”
 
The resolution further cited that “the Comelec has admitted publicly the presence of hundreds of thousands of illegal and fictitious registrants in the ARMM which neeed to be deleted from the BOOK OF voters.”
 
As for the funding, Drilon noted that the registration of voters will be sourced from the 2011 savings of the election agency.
 
“As of December 30, 2011, Comelec has P4.733 billion in its overall savings including P462 million which was appropriated and authorized for the ARMM elections which was cancelled,” Drilon explained.
 
“So, there is sufficient funding in Comelec’s budget which would respond to the financial needs of the new registration,” he stressed.
 
Quoting Budget Undersecretary Mario Relampagos, Drilon said the President’s Contingency Fund could also be tapped.
 
On Thursday, the Palace said President Benigno Aquino III is set to certify the joint resolution as urgent. — Rouchelle Dinglasan/RSJ, GMA News
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