COMELEC ASKED TO EXPLAIN WHY SQUATTERS IN METRO PROHIBITED FROM POLL '04

METRO MANILA, September 1, 2003 (STAR) By Mayen Jaymalin  - Malacañang yesterday asked the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to justify why squatters in Metro Manila are prohibited from participating in the forthcoming May 2004 elections.

"Comelec should clarify why all of a sudden residents in squatter areas would not be allowed to vote," Presidential Spokesman Ignacio Bunye said in a radio interview.

Bunye explained that right from the very start, all qualified voters, including those who are residing in squatters’ areas are being allowed by the poll body to participate in the elections.

"Comelec should really make an explanation for this proposal or they should provide an alternative because voting is a right. There has to be a good justification why they cannot exercise their right," Bunye pointed out.

Earlier, Comelec officials warned that about a million squatter residents may not be able to participate in the elections if the law on residency of voters would be strictly enforced.

Poll officials explained that under the Constitution and the Omnibus Election Code, voters must establish their place of residence, which squatters may be unable to comply.

However, poll officials clarified that not all squatters would be affected by the proposal to strictly implement the law.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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