Many voters are not aware that they are still required to register under the biometric system, according to an election lawyer.
“Most of these voters who are in possession of voter’s ID have the impression that they are already biometrically registered since they have already their voter’s ID. Those who voted in the past two elections also believe that they are no longer required to register under this system,” Romulo Macalintal noted in a statement on Monday.
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) last week said at least 4.3 million voters are still without biometrics and are facing the danger of disenfranchisement in the 2016 elections.
There is imperative need for the Comelec to clarify or clearly explain to the electorate that they are still required to be registered under the biometric system of registration, Macalintal said.
“Voters should be advised that mere possession of Voter’s ID or having voted in past elections is not a guarantee of having been biometrically registered,” he added.
Comelec spokesman James Jimenez had said the Comelec is writing those voters who have not yet registered under the biometric system.
“The danger with such statement is that those who have not been registered biometrically and did not receive any such letter from the Comelec could insist on voting in 2016 by merely saying they have not received such letter from the Comelec so they got the impression that they are already registered under the biometric system,” Macalintal said.
He advised the Comelec to look into the possibility of the existence of “flying voters” on the reported unclaimed 5.5 million Voter’s ID.
“And it will not be difficult for the Comelec to do this. If a substantial number of persons with different surnames are registered in one isolated address or small place, then the Comelec could immediately conduct an investigation to determine if these people are indeed residents of such area or merely ‘flying voters.’ For it is indeed wonder of all wonders why these people would spend several hours lining up to register under the heat of the sun and at the end of the day would not even claim their Voter’s IDs,” Macalintal said.
He called for giving deadlines to Election Officers (EOs) of municipalities or cities to have all these unclaimed Voter’s IDs delivered to the voters since it is the duty of these officers to have these IDs distributed to the voters before the previous elections.
“And while doing this, the EOs could verify if they are indeed legitimate residents or voters under their jurisdiction,” Macalintal said.