MANILA, July 17, 2015— A Catholic Church-backed poll watchdog has cautioned the Commission on Elections (Comelec) against turning malls into a voting precincts.
The Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) said holding the presidential elections inside malls next year may not be prudent since malls are private establishments.
“Even if the Comelec will take over that mall, the owner could still be related to a candidate or to a party,” said PPCRV chairperson Henrietta de Villa in Filipino.
“Malls ay privately-owned. If the mall owner or any of his family would be supporting a candidate, a party, or belonging to a party, of course, the elections held there will have a different political color,” she explained in Filipino.
The PPCRV chief pointed out that even if questions of parity may be more of perception than legal, the poll body cannot just brush it aside.
“If it will put the elections at risk, because perception is also a big thing, they should let go of it,” said De Villa in the local language.
The Comelec earlier said it is considering holding elections in shopping malls for the convenience of the voters, particularly for persons with disabilities and senior citizens.
While mall-based voting is a “creative and innovative” way to reach out to voters, De Villa said there other factors that the Comelec should consider such as public perception and legality.
“We are not totally against it. We just need to study the issues,” she said. (CBCPNews)