The Commission on Elections (Comelec) seemed to support detained Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo who, in a plea to the Sandiganbayan, sought voter registration in Lubao, Pampanga as she is unlikely to qualify for the poll body’s detainee satellite registration.
Arroyo filed a motion before the Sandiganbayan for the reactivation of her voter registration as she faces disqualification from voting and running for office in the 2016 elections.
Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said the poll body was “unlikely” to allow Arroyo to register under detainee satellite registration since the program required a minimum number of qualified registrants, adding that a set of guidelines had to be followed.
“It is unlikely because while we do satellite registration, we have a set of guidelines we follow. It has a minimum number of people. The detention centers we go to, many (registration applicants) are there,” Jimenez said.
“The most basic criteria in satellite registration: we don’t do it for one person only. Secondly, even if you were to consider a detainee prisoner, even the detainee prisoners registering are many in one particular site,” he added.
Citing Comelec Resolution 9853, Jimenez said satellite registration required not less than 200 registrants in a proposed venue.
Meanwhile, the Comelec spokesman clarified that Arroyo can still file a request with the poll body seeking for voter’s registration in Quezon City, instead of in Pampanga.
“They can file the request. If they have plans to do something like that, they should just go ahead and do it. Then, we will decide,” he said.
Arroyo had recently expressed an intention to run again for public office.
But, Jimenez said, a registered voter in the district in which he/she shall be elected is one of the main requirements for running as a member of the House of Representatives under the 1987 Constitution.
“You need to be a registered voter in order to be able to run for public office. It is a very basic requirement,” he said.