Commission on Elections personnel throughout Negros Occidental are bracing for a long work-day with thousands of voter registrants expected to flock to their offices to try to beat the 3 p.m. deadline today, Provincial Elections Office Jessie Suarez said yesterday.
COMELEC Resolution 9542 states that if, at 3 p.m. today, there are persons still waiting in line to file their applications for registration within a 30-meter radius from the Office of the Elections Officer, the Election Assistant will, without delay, list down their names, numbered consecutively, so that they can register, Suarez said.
Suarez said this will mean that COMELEC personnel will be working beyond 5 p.m. as volunteers since no overtime pay has been allotted for their work after office hours.
Yesterday morning in Bacolod City, the line of people waiting to be registered as voters by the COMELEC at the Bacolod Arts and Youth Center in Bacolod reached more than two blocks.
Bacolod Election Officer Mavil Majarucon-Sia said the police told her that some of those waiting to register had been seen in the area as early as 8 p.m. the night before.
The COMELEC distributed 800 control numbers to those waiting in line but only about 700 were actually registered since the rest either came without valid identification cards, those between 17 to 19 failed to bring their birth certificates, while some gave up on the wait, she said.
She said they expect more applicants to turn out today, which is the last day for registration of voters.
Suarez said although registration started in May last year, as usual, people were acting at the last minute. He said he also saw long queues of voter registrants in his inspections of other towns and cities in the province yesterday.
Meanwhile, Suarez served the Commission on Elections Second Division summons with a notice of conference for Mayor Oscar Montilla and Vice Mayor Gina Montilla Lizares in Sipalay City yesterday.
The two Sipalay officials were ordered to file their answer to a petition filed by city resident Rodolfo Divinagracia for the cancellation of their Certificates of Candidacy for being alleged green card holders, within five days from receipt of the summons.
Montilla has said that the petition is absolutely without basis as he and his vice mayor are not green card holders.*CPG