Supreme Court poll action sought

On Sulu clustering issue.

A HOUSE leader yesterday asked the Supreme Court (SC) to rule with finality on the petition questioning the changes in the clustering of voting centers made by the Commission on Elections (Comelec), stressing that any delay jeopardizes justice for his constituents in Sulu.

Deputy Speaker and Sulu Rep. Munir M. Arbison recalled that the Comelec recently corrected the voting centers it found to be disadvantageous to the Sulu registered voters.

Arbison said the Comelec cited the island barangay of Capual in Sulu with more than 3,000 registered voters, but their voting center remains in the mainland, which is more than three kilometers away from their docking points.

Sulu remains to be one of the few provinces were voting centers of some barangay are clustered into one voting center resulting in some form of gerrymandering, said Arbison.

In Maimbung, for example, he said more than 70% of the voters are assigned in only one voting center allegedly controlled by former Sulu Gov. Sakur Tan.

This is almost the case in Lugus, Pata, Panamao and Kalinggalan Caluang, he said.

According to Arbison, the correction made by the Comelec was stopped by the SC acting on a petition filed by former Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr., Tan’s lawyer.

However, according to the named private respondents in the SC case, he said it was the Comelec under Brillantes that made all the alleged erroneous clustering based on the reported request from Tan and his allies.

Arbison said the present Comelec should not be barred from making the much needed corrections.