February 28, 2024

Over 31,000 persons deprived of liberty are set to cast their votes in the Oct. 30 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE), the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology said.

BJMP spokesperson, Jail Chief Inspector Jayrex Joseph Bustinera said over 29,000 PDLs would vote in special polling centers within BJMP-run jails, while close to 1,900 PDLs would be escorted by jail officers while voting in the barangays where they are registered.

Bustinera said the registered PDL voters whose cases have not been resolved by the courts are allowed to vote.

He said PDLs allowed to vote include those “who are formally charged and awaiting trial, as well as individuals serving prison sentences of less than a year.”

To ensure an orderly election process among the PDLs, Bustinera said the BJMP is closely working with Supreme Court’s Office of the Court Administrator, Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) and the Commission on Elections for this measure.

The BJMP has also formed national and regional monitoring teams that will look closely in the conduct of PDL voting and held a dry run of the activity as part of safety measures.

“The BJMP’s commitment to ensuring the democratic rights of PDLs is of paramount importance. We invite you to join us during this remarkable event, shedding light on our dedicated efforts to uphold the democratic principles that form the foundation of our society,” he added.

On Oct. 3, the BJMP, Comelec and PAO signed a memorandum of agreement to ensure the peaceful and orderly voting process for PDLs.

Under the pact, the Comelec would provide essential support, guidance and resources to facilitate PDL voting and maintain the integrity of the electoral process.

Meanwhile, the PAO will assist in filing a motion to the respective Executive Judges to allow the PDL to be escorted outside the jail for escorted voting. – PNA