DUMAGUETE CITY – The Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) in Negros Oriental on Wednesday asked the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to allow some Persons Deprived of Liberty (PDL) transferred to another facility to vote in the coming Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE).
Jail Inspector Edna Serion told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) on Thursday that 23 PDLs originally detained at the municipal jail in Manjuyod town may be “disenfranchised” and not allowed to vote after they were transferred to Mabinay town’s jail.
“That is about 45 minutes away from Manjuyod and we were initially told by the Comelec in Mabinay that they cannot act on the request of the BJMP because it is not their jurisdiction,” Serion said.
“We were made to understand that it would be difficult to have Comelec personnel from Manjuyod travel to Mabinay to let these PDLs cast their votes,” she added.
She explained that these PDLs were transferred sometime in July to Mabinay because of the ongoing construction of the jail facility in Manjuyod.
Serion, during a Kapihan sa PIA forum held in this city, appealed to the Comelec to find ways for the PDLs be accommodated during the Oct. 30 polls.
Aside from the Manjuyod PDLs, there are 470 others spread across the province who have registered for the BSK elections.
These are at BJMP facilities in Dumaguete, Bayawan City, Tanjay City, Bais City, Mabinay, Guihulngan, Vallehermoso, and Canlaon City.
Some of them will be allowed onsite voting, which means they will be issued a court order to be escorted to their individual barangays to cast their votes.
Others will be voting inside the jail premises (off-site), where Comelec will deploy teams to facilitate the exercise.
Meanwhile, lawyer Felicisimo Catacutan, election officer of Tanjay City, in the same forum, representing acting provincial election supervisor lawyer Eliseo Labaria, said he would raise the concern on Friday during the command conference of the Joint Security Coordinating Center to be attended by the Comelec, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police, and the Coast Guard. (PNA)