Print Version    Email to Friend
Detained but free to vote

MANILA (Agencies): Some 42,252 prison detainees across The Philippines got to cast their vote during the May 9 elections, CBCP News reported on May 10.

“We recognise the rights of the detainees to vote and choose their respective candidates,” Richard Schwarzkopf Jr., the superintendent of New Bilibid Prison, Metro Manila, said.

According to the CBCP News report, the Commission on Elections’ (Comelec) Resolution 9371 states that detainees, since they have not been convicted, can vote in a specially designated polling place inside jails or escorted to vote elsewhere if the registration record is not transferred, deactivated, cancelled or deleted. 

“We have a special voting system here for the detainees,” said Jose Lazar, one of the poll-watchers at New Bilibid Prison.

He explained to CBCP News that ballot boxes were sourced from different precincts outside the prison, such as the National Housing Authority. After the detainees cast their votes, the ballot boxes were returned to the precincts from where they came

“As poll-watchers we have to ensure these ballots are safe,” Lazaar said.

Lazar added that the prison’s voting system “is generally fair and transparent,”although, fears of ballot-switching still linger.

“The voting system … this 2016 is more efficient compared (to) the last election because of the transparency. The casting of the votes of the inmates should be transparent and fair,” Lazar concluded.

“Our general process was very peaceful and smooth because of our coordination with the Comelec,” explained Schwarzkopf.

There were 43 voting precincts in New Bilibid Prison to accommodate some 2,056 detainee voters.

More from this section