Residents vent ire as deadline ends

Posted on November 1, 2012

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AS the clock reached 3 p.m. , the cutoff deadline for registration, hundreds of would-be applicants could only sigh and air their frustration at waiting in line for hours only to be turned away by election personnel yesterday.

Some angry city residents refused to leave the Comelec offices in Cebu City even if the doors were closed two hours later.

At 5:30 p.m, more than 200 persons were still waiting outside the north district Comelec office.

About 50 persons also stayed outside the Comelec Cebu City south district office.

They were hoping for an extension, insisting that they wanted to register to vote in the May 2013 election.

Some who claimed they were late applicants were allowed to be processed ahead of others in line.

Jay Baclaan, 19, said he saw some “rich people’ who arrived at past 3 p.m. and were allowed to go directly inside the office.

Baclaan also accused a Comelec employee of hitting his jaw after he refused to leave just in front of a closed door.

The Comelec south district office was blocked with piles of chairs.

Baclaan said he just accompanied his girlfriend Rose Ann Cruz, 18, of barangay Quiot, who wanted to register. Since 3 a.m yesterday, the people started to line up at the Comelec office.

At past 7 a.m., forms containing their priority numbers were distributed in the north district office. The last number was 618.

At 3 p.m., Comelec officials told the long line of applicants that they could no longer be accommodated until 5 p.m.

The late applicants responded by shouting “boo-boo-ooo!!!”.

Comelec Cebu City north district officer Marchel Sarno said the applicants only have themselves to blame for failing to make the deadline.

“For almost two years, why only now? They should have registered ahead of the barangay elections,” Sarno said. He said the long line of applicants started since 7 a.m.

At least 13 police officers were fielded in the area for security.

Sarno said the Comelec office only has two Data Capturing Machines and could accommodate 300 to 400 people daily.

For the past three days, Sarno said they handled nearly 2,000 registrants in the city’s north district or nearly 600 in a day. /Correspondents Jhunnex Napallacan and Tweeny M. Malinao

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