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Comelec schedules public consultation on mall voting

THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) has announced that it would conduct a public consultation next week with regard to its proposed mall-based satellite voting in the May 2016 polls.

The commission said it has set the public hearing on November 27 at 10 a.m. on the ground floor of the Palacio del Gobernador Building in Intramuros, Manila.

Stakeholders and other concerned parties were invited to participate in the hearing.

“All interested parties are invited to attend the public hearing on the transfer of polling precincts to identified public malls,” the Comelec said.

Among those invited to give their views on the proposal were various political parties and the general public.

“We want to hear the public’s take on this,” Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista said in a previous interview.

Under the Omnibus Election Code (OEC), designated polling places cannot be changed without prior notice and a hearing being conducted by the commission.

The public hearing was set amid questions on the legal basis of the mall voting under the OEC, which prescribed public schools and public buildings within the barangay as voting places.

Under the OEC, private buildings may only be tapped if government-owned establishments are unavailable.

Bautista earlier said that some 2 million voters will benefit if the plan pushes through.

He said about 159 privately owned malls nationwide have already expressed their willingness to allow the Comelec to put up voting precincts in their establishments during the 2016 elections.

In the said proposal, polling precincts that are adjacent to participating mall establishments are set to be transferred to the latter, while those that are not will remain in public schools.

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