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124 Makati inmates register for 2010 polls

Posted on: September 22, 2009

124 Makati inmates register for 2010 polls

By Anna Valmero
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 18:28:00 09/21/2009

Filed Under: Prison, Inquirer Politics, Eleksyon 2010

MANILA, Philippines—The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has registered 124 inmates from the Makati City Jail in the second district’s election office on Monday, a poll official said.

Comelec National Capital Region director Michael Dioneda told INQUIRER.net that the poll body has organized a one-day special registration for the 111 male and 13 female Makati inmates, who are registered voters and residents of the city’s second district where the detention facility is located.

Through a court order arranged by the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, batches of 20 to 30 inmates were escorted by 20 BJMP personnel from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. to register, said Dioneda.

Since the number of Makati detainees eligible to vote for the 2010 elections is below 200—the minimum number of registrants required for holding a special on-site registration in facilities—Dioneda said the inmates enlisted via escorted registration through court order following the Comelec guidelines on detainee registration.

“Under the law, detainees who have not been convicted of crime are still presumed innocent and retain their right of suffrage so we are conducting the special detainee voter registration from August to October 31,” Dioneda told INQUIRER.net over the phone.

“We have allotted this special one-day registration for them, meaning they are the only ones entertained at the Comelec Makati office today (Monday) with BJMP deploying at least 20 personnel to ensure peace and order in the registration premises. Regular registration for non-detainees will resume on Tuesday,” said Dioneda.

Comelec commissioner Rene Sarmiento said in a separate interview that only detainees who are residents or registered in the second district of Makati can avail of the special registration.

“Under election laws, a voter should reside in the municipality for six months before the elections. For detainees, his address prior to incarceration is the one recognized by law as his residence or domicile while election officers are mandated to register all voters, including detainees in his respective district,” Sarmiento said.

A total of 11,499 inmates are registered but cannot vote in 2010 for reasons such as being detained in a facility outside of the district where they resided prior to incarceration and registration as voters, according to BJMP data.

Although the detainees registration only started in August, the Comelec and the BJMP have enlisted about 30 percent of the 43,000 inmates across the county who are eligible to vote, said Sarmiento.

“The rate of our detainee registration at over 12,400 is very encouraging, considering this is the first time and the figures only account for the period between August to September 7. At this rate, we are optimistic to enlist at least half of the 43,000 eligible registrants by October 31,” Sarmiento s

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