• Supremes stripped citizens voting rights

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    WHY, and how could, the august justices of the Supreme Court bear to commit the injustice?

    We condemn in the strongest possible terms the decision of the Supremes on Wednesday to lift its temporary restraining order against Comelec’s “no bio, no boto” registration scheme, a move that arbitrarily stripped the right to vote from more than three million Filipino citizens.

    The part of the decision that was most egregious was the high court’s reasoning that the “no bio, no boto” scheme passed the so-called “strict scrutiny” test, meaning that the interest of the government in imposing it was deemed to be “compelling,” that interest being the maintenance of updated, correct voting lists for the purposes of avoiding fraud and ensuring that election results properly reflect the will of the people.

    But “strict scrutiny” also requires that “no less restrictive means” are available to achieve the “compelling” interest. The Comelec scheme completely fails on this point.

    Comelec’s limited resources (or perhaps limited ambition) prevented the poll body from conducting its “no bio, no boto” registration procedures in a way that was conveniently accessible to all voters, and prevented the poll body from extending the registration deadline beyond this past September 30, a ridiculously short time window given that the elections would be held more than eight months later than that date.

    Thus, a “less restrictive” means is most certainly available – that being Comelec carrying out its mandated tasks efficiently, processing registrations in a reasonably convenient way (such as at the barangay level), and not trying to play the entire country for fools (as they did successfully with the Supreme Court justices) by attempting to convince us that it would take more than eight full months to manage a single set of data, albeit a large one.

    A far better solution, really the only acceptable one, would have been to compel the Comelec to correct the shortcomings in their program, carrying out registration in more areas, and extending the registration period to a reasonable deadline. In most countries, even our Southeast Asian neighbors who face many of the same technical and bureaucratic challenges the Philippines does, registration for the next election is allowed up to a month or two before the vote. There is no “compelling” reason why this cannot be so here, with the resources currently available to the Comelec.

    We strongly believe that while it is very important to maintain proper records of voters, the legal inclusion of as many eligible voters as possible is and always will be absolutely more “compelling” than any government interest. In allowing the Comelec to proceed, the Supreme Court has done nothing more or less than to strip the right to vote from millions of Filipinos, all for the sake of endorsing the inefficient work and poor planning of the Comelec.

    The justices of the Supreme Court, while they have many times in the past couple years admirably protected the interests of the people, utterly failed them this time, and deserve our censure.

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    8 Comments

    1. The no bio..no vote rule were put in place about a year ago and infomercials were dessiminated widely so no reason to complain. I myself took a little time from my busy schedules just to comply and avoid losing my voting rights… so to all the lazy, ignorant and do nothing individuals who are protesting just now as if this was just announced yesterday… go to hell and rant all you can cause you are just as nuisance as the other candidates…

    2. Totally agree with the rationale of the SC in lifting the TRO. Voters have been forwarned at least a year of the new requirement so that they can vote.

    3. Totally agree with SC lifting the TRO. Voting is a privilege; voters who want to avail of his/her right must comply with the requirements. We need a discipline electorate to participate
      in our election(s).

    4. Leodegardo Pruna on

      The time to register given to voters was just too long that if there was no time limit what we shall have will simply just be confusion and fraudulent election result. The SC just did what it was supposed to do. God bless the Philippines.

    5. Great Mr. Ed De Leon. Only in the Philippines… After EDSA revolution 1 it happens…
      GOD SAVE PHILIPPINES FROM THE IRRESPONSIBLE LEADER OF OUR NATION.
      VOTE WISELY. ZERO VOTE TO ALL LIBERAL PARTY and dont vote celebrities, personalites, etc.. wala na ba tayong matino na mga graduare ng LAW????

    6. apolonio reyes on

      The Supreme Court did not stripped the citizens their voting rights, it is the citizens that stripped themselves of their voting rights. the were given more than one year to do it and they did not.
      Last 2008, we arrived from eight years from Canada. I read in the local papers and radio-televisions that there will be a new registration and bio metric for those who were not able to vote two times as their registration were cancelled. My wife and I went to the Comelec office and there were only three or four of us registering. It took us senior citizens less than 10 minutes to do it including the climbing of three floors.
      The Supreme Court and Comelec were correct, the voters stripped themselves of their voting rights, Sirs.

    7. Where in the world do you find:
      1. people who were given more than one year deadline for the bio and still ignore it and wait for the last minute? The Phiippines.
      2. find moneyed and powerful citizens who can get away with crimes committed? The Phiippines
      3. corrupt politicians with tons of evidences and still deny them. The Phiippines
      4. graduates from metro manila’s exclusive schools who migrated to the U.S. and obtained low paying jobs (unlike those who graduated from the provinces and excelled in high paying jobs). The Phiippines
      5. arrogant graduate from metro manila’s exclusive schools like San Beda who cannot express himself in English and continues chewing gum when interviewed because e has bad breath and bad mouth( and ” pa-pa-pogi). The Phiippines
      6 Moneyed or corrupt politicians who cannot exlain their amassed wealth? The Phiippines
      7. More…