The local political developments in Bacolod went off to an interesting start when three Bacolod residents filed an opposition to the application for voters registration transfer of former Cong. Alfredo Abelardo Benitez before the local office of the Commission on Elections or COMELEC.
In turn, Benitez has asked Comelec to junk the opposition, along with his declaration to run as mayor of the city.
This has led to questions: Why file the opposition? Can the former congressman transfer his registration from Victorias to the city?
Because of this, one name — or rather office — has been thrust into public view: the Election Registration Board which is incidentally hearing 241 other cases of opposition.
The board might also be key in resolving questions on registration — and more.
The ERB here is composed by City Election Registrar Kathrina Caña as chairman along with Civil Registrar Head Hermilo Pauyon and Bacolod Schools Division Superintendent Gladys Sales.
What is the ERB?
The Election Registration Board is a body instituted under the Commission on Elections to act on all applications for registration and other voter-related applications by approving or disapproving them, in each applicable municipality, city, and district.
According to the Commission on Elections, Section 3 of Republic Act No. 8189, known as “The Voter’s Registration Act of 1996”, has defined Election Registration Board as a “body constituted herein to act on all applications for registration.”
The election board gets to decide whether the voter’s application will be an official registration record or an application that has been duly approved by them ERB, and will be a part of the Book of Voters -compiling all registration records in a precinct.
Therefore, when you see your name under the list of voters, the ERB is the one responsible for it, since filing an application for registration does not fully guarantee that one becomes an official voter of the country.
“Once they are approved by the ERBs (Election Registration Boards), that is the only time one can say that an applicant is already a registered voter,” Comelec Spokesperson James Jimenez said from an article by Philippine News Agency.
The ERB processes the applications within approximately 14 days, then, the results of approvals and disapprovals will be posted at the respective offices of the Election officers.
Who composes the Election Registration Board?
Section 5 of Republic Act No. 4730, an act that provides legal steps for validation of permanent registration of approved voters by election registrars, declares that “there shall be in each city, municipality, and municipal district as many election registration boards as there are election registrars appointed therein, each such election registration board to be composed of the election registrar as chairman and two members to be appointed by the Commission on Elections upon proposal by the two political parties which polled the largest and the next largest number of votes in the next preceding presidential election, and shall hold office until relieved by the Commission on Elections for cause or upon the petition of the authorized representative of the party upon whose nomination the appointment was made.”
As mandated by RA 8189, the ERB will be hearing registration applications every quarter of every year, transfer with reactivation, change or correction of entry, inclusion/reinstatement of records are also being accepted by the assigned officials for the period of registration.
Knowing and familiarizing with the functions and processes of Election Registration Board and its people is vital for us, because as Filipino voters, having an awareness of its existence will in turn inform us of our rights and responsibilities as citizens.