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PIA Press Release
2010/05/11

Another first: 34 detainees in Maasin City cast their votes

By Bong Pedalino

Maasin City (May 10) -- No doubt this is the first time all voters got a taste on how it was like voting the automated way.

But we have a double whammy of a first-time nice experience here, actually, for this is also the very first time persons behind bars here, and across the nation for that matter, were able to exercise their right of suffrage.

That prisoners were able to vote was made possible through a registration process so designed to cater to this need as stipulated in a resolution mandated by the Commission on Elections (Comelec), said Jail Officer 3 Gwendalyn Pasco of this city?s Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) office.

Pasco said 34 inmates of the city jail were qualified to vote, and in fact they have already voted right there at the precinct in the barangay where they had registered, escorted by jail guards headed by Chief Inspector Joseph Nunez.

They rode in a secured BJMP vehicle on their way to the various polling precincts, followed by a team of uniformed and gun-carrying guards on motorbikes.

The detainee-voters who were registered in the polling places in the city proper were done this morning, while at present the fourth batch of seven of them were already in the mountain barangays of Pinaskohan, Lunas, Hinapu Gamay, and Nonok Sur when PIA called for updates this afternoon.

As soon as they will be through and back in the office, the fifth and last batch will be out, said JO3 Pasco.

It was learned that the detainees will be accorded express lanes on reaching the designated precincts, meaning they will be given priority to be first in line, the same privilege given to the disabled and senior citizens in their advanced years.

The city jail at present has a population of 48 inmates, but 14 of them failed to register or to transfer their registration, so only 34 were able to vote, JO3 Pasco added. (PIA-Southern Leyte) [top]

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