THE COMMISSION on Elections (COMELEC) said it has so far printed more than 28 million ballots or nearly half of the total number needed for the May midterm polls.
COMELEC spokesman James Jimenez said they are on track in the preparations for the polls. “The daily average of ballots being printed at the National Printing Office (NPO) is one million, and 45.38 percent or 28,887,821 pieces have been printed as of March 11,” he said, adding, they expect to finish printing earlier than the projected date which is on April 25.
He said the dispatch of official ballots, accountable forms and other supplies as well as automated election system equipment will start on April 24. “These various election paraphernalia will be dispatched to the various regional offices of the Comelec through the country will follow a staggered schedule, and is targeted to be completed within five days upon the start of dispatch,” Jimenez said.
He also reported the training of Election Boards (EBs), who will serve in the polls, is also ongoing. “EBs in the far-flung areas such as in the Mindanao provinces are being prioritized,” he said.
The first to be printed are overseas absentee voting ballots, followed by provinces in Mindanao, Visayas, Luzon and the National Capital Region.
Jimenez cautioned the public against malicious rumors against the poll body intended to undermine public trust and confidence in the poll body. “The persons or parties responsible for starting and spreading these malicious allegations of wrongdoing, including accusation of graft, corruption and partisanship in the elections, both National and Local, are put on notice that their activities will not go unpunished,” he said.
Jimenez said they have monitored accusations of wrongdoings against COMELEC commissioners and officials. “Basically, according to the rumors, there were offers that elections can be fixed. They are claiming that they know this person. Allegations of partisanship or expressions of support supposedly by a commissioner for a particular candidate,” he said.
“We’re seeing this primarily in the local elections, we’re here to set to set that record straight and to warn the public not to fall for these kinds of allegations and malicious rumors,” he added.
Jimenez noted that they will be coordinating with the appropriate law enforcement agencies to uncover the persons or parties responsible for these rumors.
“Undermining public confidence in the elections is an election offense, and persons or parties engaging in cowardly and dishonorable acts of dishonesty that tend to erode public trust in the mechanisms and processes of democratic elections will be held accountable,” he said. (Ferdinand Patinio)
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