• 4.3-M voters stand to be disenfranchised


    BACOOR CITY: Elections Commission Chairman Andres Bautista on Saturday said some 4.3 million voters could be barred from voting in next year’s elections should they fail to have their biometrics entered in the poll body’s database.

    Biometric data include the voter’s signature, picture and fingerprints captured in digital form.

    “We are encouraging those who have no biometrics to go to the nearest malls in their respective areas and have their biometrics taken by Comelec personnel,” he said, adding that the poll body has made arrangements with major mall operators like Ayala, SM, and Robinson’s where voters can have their biometrics updated from July to October 31, the last day of registration of new and transferee voters.

    “There seems to be a lack of awareness among the people and we are trying to raise that,” said Bautista who will have his biometrics taken at Trinoma Mall in Quezon City on July 19.

    “I am a registered voter of the Fourth District of Quezon City. My barangay chairman had sent me two letters reminding me to go to the Comelec and have my biometrics taken,” he said.

    Bautista admitted that he was able to vote in 2013, but his biometric data was never recorded.

    Republic Act 10367, or better known as the Mandatory Biometrics Registration Act of 2013, mandates that those who failed to submit for validation prior to the May 2016 elections shall be deactivated from the voters’ list and shall not be allowed to vote.

    “What we do is we write to them and ask them to return to complete the system (of registration),” added Comelec spokesman James Jimenez.

    Corrupted files
    Jimenez also disclosed yesterday that several compact dics (CDs) containing the list of 1.9 million voters in 2013 elections were found corrupted and are also subject for correction.

    As of yesterday, Jimenez said a total of 1,728 voters have their biometrics corrupted and were beyond retrieval from the original source, prompting the Comelec to suspend three election officials for negligence.

    “The data from the registration center is being sent to the Central Comelec in a CD (compact disc) format. Later the CD was found to be corrupted,” Jimenez told reporters

    He explained that the original source of the data remains intact in the registration center.

    “But that doesn’t mean that the actual source of the biometrics data is affected. The solution here is simply to ask the registration center to make a new CD,” he added.

    “It is possible that the CD became corrupted either during the process of burning, transporting or opening of it. Some failed also to have a back up file of the CD as they are required to do. Hence, they were meted with suspension after investigation,” he said.

    “There have been some cases wherein…the picture or the fingerprint of the person is not that clear and since there is no back up you cannot recover the file. That totals to about 1,728,” he said.

    The corrupted files were from Central Luzon, Southern Tagalog, Central Visayas and Northern Mindanao.


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