By Chito Chavez
The Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) said 43,774 persons who are behind bars are expected to vote in Monday’s elections.
BJMP spokesman Chief Inspector Xavier Solda said 37,522 of the detainees, officially known as persons deprived of liberty (PDL), are males and 6,252 are females.
Some of the detainees may vote in the jail in areas where they are registered voters, Solda said.
A special polling place will be set up in jails with at least 50 registered detainee voters.
Some detainees may also vote off-site or in areas where they are registered voters, with the BJMP bringing them to the polling places and back to their jail cells.
Solda said the police and the military will assist the BJMP in ensuring the safety of the off-site detainee voters.
Although Solda had recognized that on-site voting is preferred by the BJMP, the bureau must follow Commission on Elections (Comelec) regulations concerning PDLs.
He noted the PDLs may only vote for the national elective posts and not for the local bets of their choices in the localities where they are registered voters.
“We have 207 jails for on-site voting and 200 jails with off-site detainee voters. The 40,941 will vote on-site and 2,833 will vote off-site,’’ Solda said.
“In relation to Comelec Resolution No 8811 dated March 23, 2010 as amended by Comelec Resolution No 8859 on May 5, 2010 and Comelec Resolution No 9371 dated March 6 2012 and Comelec Resolution No 10491 dated February 1, 2019, the persons deprived of liberty under the BJMP may participate in the conduct of 2019 National and Local Elections,’’ Solda said.
BJMP Director Chief Superintendent Allan Iral said all the BJMP manned jail facilities are ready for the 2019 National and Local Elections.
To ensure the smooth conduct of election, Iral had coordinated the preparations with “concerned election officers especially on the determination and verification of list of PDL qualified to vote’’.
Since Frida, Iral had placed all BJMP manned jail facilities on red alert status.
The BJMPs Task Force Halalan which is headed by Iral already ordered the simultaneous monitoring and supervision the simultaneous casting of votes and other election related activities in the jail units.
“We established hotlines at the National Headquarters to address regional concerns on real time basis to generate a steady stream of reports for relay to the Comelec,’’. Solda said.
The National Headquarters will be deploying the Special Tactics and Response Teams to augment jail units if necessary.
There are places across the country which was declared under Comelec control.
Solda said two of these areas, Daraga in Albay and Cotabato City in BARMM were all in normal situations.
BJMP Director for Operations Senior Supt. Baby Noel Montalvo assured the safe travel of the PDLs going off-site voting and their safe return to their prison cells after casting their votes.
He said the help of the PNP in transporting the PDLs prompted him to predict a hassle-free travel for the registered detainee voters.