First Posted 10:16:00 05/01/2013
Last Updates 21:55:00 05/03/2013
UPDATE: Public school teachers who served as BEIs during the May 10, 2010 elections and appointed as BEIs for the May 13, 2013 elections were ordered disqualified to serve by Atty. Mejarito due to the election offense complaint filed by Biliran Kawsa.
NAVAL, BILIRAN – A group based in Biliran province has initiated the filing of a complaint against 37 Board of Election Inspectors (BEIs) on Tuesday, April 30, before the provincial office of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) here for alleged commission of election offenses.
Biliran-Kawsa is a non-stock, non-profit organization and/or people’s movement for truth, justice and peace, and taking up causes for the interest of the people and the environment in the province of Biliran. It also advocates political balance and continuous public information campaign to cultivate the climate of informed awareness among the Biliranons.
The complaint was filed personally by Ismael Galicia, Jr., duly authorized representative of Biliran-Kawsa, together with the other members of the group.
Based on the complaint-affidavit of Galicia, the 37 BEIs who served during the May 10, 2010 elections in various towns in the province of Biliran, have violated Sec. 21 of Comelec Resolution No. 8786 and committed various crimes as election offenses under the Omnibus Election Code.
The respondents of the complaint are the following: Pemelita J. Obispo, Nimfa B. Tupaz and Jinley L. Servano of cluster precinct No. 1 of Barangay Poblacion; Edmundo B. Bernadas of cluster precinct No. 3 of Barangay Balacson; Crisanto B. Rosario, Vicente G. Monteroyo and Margaret O. Flores of cluster precinct No. 9 of Barangay Inasuyan; and Bibian A. Bernal of cluster precinct No. 16 of Barangay San Lorenzo, all in the municipality of Kawayan; Nilda R. Matuguinas of Barangay Agutay and Agnes C. Amor of Barangay Viga in the municipality of Maripipi; Bella F. Bacalando, Analiza M. Macanas and Reynaldo C. Bolotano of cluster precinct No. 3 of Barangay Caucab; Gerardo C. Paghid, Dianita M. Besoyo and Rosalie C. Gaviola of cluster precinct No. 4 of Barangay Iyusan; Anelia L. Escala, Jenalyn A. Apinardo and Melby A. Sale of cluster precinct No. 5 of Barangay Jamorawon and Aida C. Cabrera, Marissa A. Sanoy and Thelma O. Mari of cluster precinct No. 13 of Barangay Talahid, all in the municipality of Almeria; Carmencita G. Napalit of cluster precinct No. 13 of Barangay Sanggalang in Biliran town; Edgar A. Cabia of cluster precinct No. 4 of Barangay Balaquid in Cabucgayan town; Naresh R. Sanosa, Ma. Elena P. Agosto, Alma R. Agosto, Julia A. Azur and Juliet S. Gutierrez of Barangay Palenque; Fe C. Rosete, Nestor A. Ticoy, Jr. and Felecitas S. Baleyos of Barangay Asug; Niel T. Pacad, Lenny C. Tipan and Bibiana P. Rosel of Barangay Binohangan; Gregorio Abainza and Monina B. Tagadan of Barangay Villavicenta, all in Caibiran town.
The complaint was anchored on the decision particularly the dissenting opinion of the Hon. Presbitero J. Velasco, Jr., a member of the Supreme Court who sits as chairman in the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET), that tried the electoral protest case of Glenn A. Chong, protestant vs. Rogelio J. Espina, protestee in HRET Case No. 10-020 (EP) Lone District of Biliran.
HRET rendered the decision on February 7, 2013 dismissing the election protest in a majority vote of 8 members against 1. However, Atty. Chong elevated the case to the Supreme Court by filing a motion for reconsideration on HRET decision on the electoral protest.
It was revealed in the decision that the respondents violated the pertinent Comelec resolution as they did not follow the specific instructions to make a list of voters who were present and who were allowed to vote after the prescribed election hours.
Sec. 21 of Comelec Resolution No. 8786 provides the casting of votes shall start at seven o’clock in the morning and shall end six o’clock in the evening of election day.
The following specific instructions stipulated in Sec. 21 of Comelec Resolution 8786 were violated by the BEIs mentioned: 1.) The poll clerk must, without delay, prepare a complete list containing the names, consecutively numbered of said voters who are within the 30-meter limit radius; 2). The voters shall be called in the order in which they are listed; in case a voter in the list is not present when called, he/she shall not be allowed to vote at any later time; and 3.)The said list shall be submitted to the election officer.
Justice Velasco stated in his dissenting opinion that “there is enough proof of fraud, irregularity and blatant defiance of, not just mere non-compliance with Comelec Resolution No 8786, thus negating any vestige of legality in the manner of voting during the extension of the voting hours in at least seven clustered precincts subject of protest”.
It was also noted by Justice Velasco that out of the subject 18 clustered precincts, the voting list of seven clustered precincts remain unaccounted for and that only copies of the minutes of voting were obtained from the Comelec on January 8, 2013.
Election offenses allegedly committed also by the respondents were based on Sec. 261 of the Omnibus Election Code which were prohibited acts during the time of voting such as any member of the board of election inspectors charged with the duty of tallying the votes in the tally board or sheet, election returns or other prescribed form who deliberately fails to record a vote therein or records erroneously the votes as read or records a vote where no such vote has been read by the chairman; any member of a board of election inspectors who has made possible the casting of more votes than there are registered voters; any person who, for the purpose of disrupting or obstructing the election process or causing confusion among the voters, propagates false and alarming reports or information or transmits or circulated false orders, directives or messages regarding any matter relating to the printing of official ballots, the postponement of the election, the transfer of polling place or the general conduct of the election.
Galicia stated in his complaint-affidavit that massive cheating, disenfranchisement of voters and other election irregularities were committed and/or resulted from the failure of the election officers and respondents to perform their duties in accordance with the law.
“There is a need to impose the full force of the law against these individuals who committed the infractions and they should stand trial”, Galicia added in his complaint-affidavit.