Bare Truth by Rose de la Cruz
Bare Truth

Purge the ‘Precinct Finder”

May 4, 2022, 12:38 AM
Rose De La Cruz

Rose De La Cruz

Columnist

I agree with the column of (retired) Justice Artemio Panganiban advising the Commission on Election to ‘expurgate’ the supposedly hi-tech app called ‘Precinct Finder,’ which does nothing but give citizens anxiety about seeing a “no record found” answer once you click on it.

My son tried to look for his precinct and mine but was surprised that after voting for so many times in the past, the Precinct Finder (whoever concocted it and how much it would cost Comelec) told him ‘no record found.’ What kind of answer is that? On second try, it told us NCR. What the heck, NCR is so big, it was of no help at all.

So we went to the Comelec voters’ list and found our names and respective precincts there. Just where we had voted in the past.

Had we been given an answer, we would really rush to the election lists held by the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) and check our names there. But thank God we found ours online in the Comelec list.

The anxiety that the precinct finder gave us was too great that we almost panicked. Imagine I can’t even vote for the leader I want! That is too much. Instead of helping us, it makes us worry no end about the possibility of being disenfranchised.

Of all elections I have been through, this is one time that I feel so excited and enthusiastic to vote because I am firmly convinced and inspired to vote for someone who I know can truly care for this country. The past had shown me only traditional politicians (trapos) trying to earn your confidence only to let you down weeks later.

I voted for the sitting president, thinking he was the change that we were so hungry for. But sadly, he ended up being the opposite of my dreams for this country. He ended up destroying everything we respected about our democracy—its institutions, traditions, its laws and in governance.

Now I am being energized to vote a person who had a proven track record of public service—just like a lot of people are inspired by it. Which is why I would let nothing, I repeat nothing, to come my way to stop me from voting the person I believe can be a truly good servant leader that Christ has been telling us in His gospels.

First-time youth voters

Like the former SC justice, my anxiety worsened thinking about the 4.1 million first-time youth voters (ages 18 to 21) who have not received any notice of whether their application for registration has been approved and/or who may have been falsely told by the unreliable Comelec Precinct Finder that there is no record found of their registration.

But don’t worry a physical voters’ list from Comelec would be an alternative source of where to find your polling precinct. The voters list after all is required by law (RA 8189) to be posted 90 days before election day (exactly on February 8) in the office of the election registrar and in bulletin boards of the local governments contained in your registration.

Most important, the Electoral Boards (formerly called the Board of Election Inspectors) will have in their custody on May 9, a master list called Election Day Computerized Voters List (EDCVL), which is the prima facie authority on who may vote in a specific precinct, Justice Panganiban stated.

Indeed, this simple VIS (voter information sheet) put to terrible shame the unhelpful and confusing Comelec Precinct Finder and veritably exposed it as a nuisance that merely erodes the credibility of the Comelec. The poll body should immediately expurgate it, like it unabashedly purges nuisance candidates.

I do not know how much this useless gimmick cost, but I think the Comelec should withdraw it now given its unreliability and the availability of the more reliable sources of information I outlined, especially the VIS that was issued pursuant to law (RA 7904) and that could be used to contest the EDCVL.

After it is rid of errors and blunders, the Precinct Finder could be reinstated at some future time. The poll agency need not be reminded that hi-tech and digital apps should be thoroughly tested before they are inflicted on the public, Panganiban concluded. I completely agree.


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