SC asked to allow poll watchers to take photos

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MANILA — Various individuals and groups asked the Supreme Court (SC) to lift the ban imposed by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on digital photo taking by watchers of candidates in the May 13 mid-term polls.

In a 44-page suit, the petitioners urged the SC to hand down a writ of mandamus for the Comelec among other things to “respect the right of watchers to take photographs of the proceedings and incidents in accordance with Section 179 of the Omnibus Election Code and the amplification of the same right including “members of the public” pursuant to the Electoral Reforms Law (Republic Act 7166)”.

The petition likewise urged the High Court “to declare that the (Comelec) ban against digital cameras and cellular phones … applies only until the close of polls” and “to allow after the close of polls, the use of digital cameras and cellular phones to audit the totality of votes inside the precinct after karambola or shuffling the Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail receptacle”.

The petition was filed by groups AES Watch, Buklod Pamilya, Capitol Christian Leadership, Citizens’ Crime Watch, Connecting Businessmen in the Marketplace to Christ, Latter Rain Harvest Ministries, One Vote Our Hope, and Upper Room Brethren Church.

The petitioners are 13 private individuals who described themselves as church leaders, election reform and anti-crime and corruption advocates.-PNA

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