Issue of January 3, 2021
     
NEWS
Benguet
Kalinga
 
OPINION
 
 
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Benguet caretaker wants to enlist as voter of province
by Rimaliza A. Opiña

ACT-CIS Representative and Benguet caretaker Eric Yap will officially be a registered voter of the province if the Municipal Election Registration Board (MERB) approves his application.

Yap’s submission of application to transfer in Benguet has fueled speculation that he is gunning for an elective post in the province in 2022 – an issue that he said is too early to discuss, albeit he already declared in a press conference on Dec. 19 in Itogon, Benguet that he will not seek reelection as ACT-CIS representative.

Benguet Election Supervisor Elenita Julia Tabangin said Yap is not yet officially a registered voter of the province.

She told the Courier the process of transferring involves submission of previous voter record to the Commission on Elections office where one intends to transfer. Afterwhich, the Municipal or City Election Registrar will post in the city or municipal bulletin board the list of the people who are seeking transfer.

The posting is meant to inform the public about the transfer and if they have oppositions, may submit to the Municipal or City Election Registration Board (MERB/CERB) a notarized document containing reasons for the opposition.

“It is not automatic. There is a process before you officially become a registered voter in the area where you intend to transfer,” Tabangin said. 

The MERB or CERB will convene after the posting to hear the opposition if any. 

The MERB or CERB is composed of the municipal/city election registrar, the local civil registrar, and a senior official of the Department of Education.

Tabangin said if there are no oppositions, the MERB or CERB usually approves the transfer as long as the transferee meets the basic qualifications to be a registered voter.

In case of Yap who is seeking to transfer at Barangay Loacan, Itogon, Benguet, the MERB will convene on Jan. 18 to hear not just the solon’s application but of several others who submitted their intent.

The 41-year-old Yap is a registered voter in a city in the National Capital Region.

He submitted his transfer documents to the Municipal Election Office last Nov. 26.

Based on the constitution, those who can become a member of the House of Representatives should be a natural-born citizen of the Philippines; at least 25 years old; is able to read and write; and a registered voter and a resident in the district where s/he shall be elected.

In Comelec Resolution 6924, any registered voter may transfer his registration record by filing an application for transfer of registration records using the prescribed form at the Office of the Election Officer of his new residence, and have satisfied the six months residency requirement.

Upon receipt of the applications, the Municipal Election Office shall set them for hearing, notices of which shall be posted in the city/municipal bulletin board and in his/her office in accordance with the schedule, furnishing copies thereof to the applicants concerned, the heads or representatives of registered political parties and other accredited groups or organizations in the city/municipality.

If the MERB disapproves the application for registration or applications for transfer of registration records, change of name, correction of entry, reactivation of registration records; deactivation and cancellation of registration records, the applicant shall be furnished with a certificate of disapproval stating the ground or grounds for the disapproval.

In case of disapproval of application for registration, the aggrieved party may file with the proper municipal or municipal circuit or metropolitan trial court a petition for inclusion at any time, except 105 days prior to a regular election or 75 days prior to a special election.

Grounds for disapproval are if the applicant is sentenced by final judgment for an offense involving moral turpitude or for an offense punishable by one year or more of imprisonment, within two years after serving sentence; removed from office as a result of an administrative case; convicted by final judgment for violating the oath of allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines; with dual citizenship; fugitives from justice in criminal or nonpolitical cases here or abroad; permanent residents in a foreign country or those who have acquired the right to reside abroad and continue to avail of the same right after the effectivity of the Local Government Code; and the insane or feeble-minded.

Yap was first elected into public office in 2019 as a nominee of ACT-CIS party-list.

Former House Speaker Allan Peter Cayetano appointed him caretaker of Benguet on Jan. 20, 2020 following the demise of then Rep. Nestor Fongwan Sr.

Yap chairs the Committee on Appropriations and vice chair of the Committees on Accounts, Games and Amusement, Good Government and Public Accountability, Government Enterprises and Privatization, and Ways and Means.


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