The Philippines’ Commission on Elections (“Comelec”) has officially moved to disqualify otherwise eligible voters who failed to register their biometric data by its October 31st deadline. In a new resolution, the agency asked the Election Registration Board (ERB) to deactivate those voters’ eligibility for the 2016 election.
Next year’s national election will rely on biometric voter authentication, and as such all eligible voters were required to submit their biometric data ahead of the deadline. However, concerns are now starting to arise, given that Comelec’s registration centers faced huge lineups in the final days of the registration period, and a petition was filed asking the country’s Supreme Court to compel Comelec to extend the deadline.
But Comelec is forging ahead as planned, with its latest resolution asserting that any “opposition/objection to the deactivation of records shall be filed not later than November 9.” Moreover, Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista is now suggesting that the petition to extend registration is doomed to failure, given Comelec’s intensive efforts to encourage voters to register. Quoted in the Manila Bulletin, Bautista said, “We have bent backward to try to accommodate as many voters as we can. It was 18 months. I think it was enough time for people to really register.” Time will tell, of course, as to whether this is a sufficient argument for the Supreme Court to uphold the disenfranchisement of unregistered voters.
Source: Manila Bulletin
November 9, 2015 – by Alex Perala