By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) once again reminded voters of the “dos” and “don’ts” when they cast their votes Monday in the May 13 midterm elections, one of these the strict prohibition of taking photos.
In a radio interview, COMELEC Commissioner Rowena Guanzon urged voters to arrive at their respective polling precincts early.
“Mga botante na aabutan ng alas-6 ng gabi bukas sa pila, papayagan pa rin bumoto kapag nasa loob ng 30 meters (Voters who are still in line at 6 p.m. and within 30 meters of the voting precincts shall be allowed to vote),” she explained.
Guanzon also reminded the voters not to take videos and photos while inside their respective polling precincts.
Taking photos and videos of the ballots, she added, is also strictly prohibited. “Bawal ang kumuha ng video at litrato sa loob ng polling precinct at bawal din kuhanan ng litrato ang balota,” she explained. Those who will be caught taking photos and videos of illegal activities, she said, might face imprisonment.
Meanwhile, Guanzon clarified that journalists and media practitioners are allowed to take photos and videos as long as they are outside the polling precincts.
COMELEC, Guanzon said, is doing everything to address election-related issues. When it comes to some voting machines that are “problematic” or with issues, Guanzon said that this is expected. “[Ang] pagpalya ng ilang voting counting machines (VCM), normal lang dahil sa pagbiyahe pero walang dapat ipag-alala dahil naaayos din naman,” she explained – adding that the regional hubs are ready to replace the VCMs that can no longer be used.
Guanzon also assured that the COMELEC will look into the Statement of Contribution and Expenditures (SOCE) of the candidates. “[Ang] mga mahuhuling nandadaya ng kanilang SOCE, maaring ma-disqualify kahit manalo sa eleksiyon,” she added.