By Ferdinand G. Patinio
MANILA, July 17 (PNA) — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) assured that if ever the mall-based voting will be allowed, it will not be held in malls owned by politicians or government officials.
Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista said that the law does not allow such activities to be held in private establishments.
“Yun kasi ang pinagbabawal ng batas. Hindi pwede gamitin ang isang private establishment na ang may-ari ay magiging candidate o kaya talagang sumusuporta sa isang candidate or nasa politics,” he said.
The poll body chief added, “We cannot use Gateway Mall or other Araneta malls since Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Mar Roxas is a possible candidate. We also cannot use Starmalls because of Senator Cynthia Villar.”
Section 42 of the Omnibus Election Code provides that in case there is no public school or other public building that can be used as polling places, other appropriate private buildings may be designated.
However, the law states that such private buildings must not be “owned or occupied or possessed by any incumbent elective public official or candidate, or his relative within the fourth civil degree of consanguinity or affinity”.
Bautista noted they do not want to politicize the conduct of mall-based voting in the 2016 polls.
“Gusto namin siguraduhin na huwag mabahiran ng politika yung ating pag rehistro at pagboto,” he said.
Roxas is looking to be appointed as standard bearer of the ruling Liberal Party while Villar is the wife of Nacionalista Party President and former Senate President Manny Villar.
The family of the Cabinet member owns the Gateway Mall, Ali Mall, and Farmers Plaza; while the lawmaker own Starmalls, which has 11 branches.
Earlier, Robinsons Malls and SM Supermalls have committed to hold mall-based voting in their establishments.(PNA)