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Daily Tribune - Same old Comelec questionable ways

News & Interviews
25 June 2019

By Ninez Cacho-Olivares | Daily Tribune

Just some two months after the 2019 polls, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) is readying for two million new registered voters for the presidential 2022 polls.

The number of new voters has been projected by the Comelec ahead of the start of the registration of new voters scheduled for the whole month of August until the end of September.

“The Comelec has not, and is still not doing its job right especially during the days scheduled for candidates to file their certificates of candidacies.

“This will be inclusive of Saturdays and holidays. Approximately two million new voters are expected to register during this period,” as stated by Director James Jimenez of the Comelec’s Education and Information Department and the poll body’s spokesman, who made the projection ahead of the start of the registration for new voters.

For the Sangguniang Kabataan polls, Jimenez clarified that SK voters do not need to register again upon turning 18 as their names will automatically be transferred from the SK list of voters to the regular list.

No wonder the number of new voters who add to the old list get bloated year after election year.

How can the Comelec check whether these 18-year-olds are still living in the country or are no longer living in the same address or have died but whose names are automatically transferred from the SK voters list to the regular voters list that moreover has not been cleansed at all by the Comelec?

Sure, the law says that the right to suffrage “may be exercised by all citizens of the Philippines not otherwise disqualified by law, who are at least 18 years of age, and who shall have resided in the Philippines for at least one year and in the place wherein they propose to vote for at least six months immediately preceding the election.”

However, this law does not mean that all 18-year-olds are qualified to vote.

With a new entry of the expected two million new voters, the number of total voters by 2019 should come to about 63 million voters, not counting the young adults who will be of voting age after 2019 to 2022. This is at least some 10 million voters added through the years, which list keeps on growing by leaps and bounds.

The Philippine population numbers roughly about 103 million Filipinos, yet more than half of the population are voters, which number of eligible voters is highly doubted, since apparently, no registered Filipino voter ever dies as there has hardly been any diminution of the numbers of voters all these years. What has been happening is always an incredible leap in the number of Filipino voters especially in some areas in Mindanao where, it had been reported in past years, even 12-year-olds register as voters and even vote.

In this country, one easily suspects that no Filipino voter ever dies, or leaves — with his entire family — the Philippines for greener pastures they find abroad.

It does look like the Comelec has not done any serious checking of the registered voters to effectively weed out the ineligible persons who have registered.

The least that the Comelec should do is to have a nationwide checking and cleansing of voters against its official list of voters and cancel those who are either dead or are no longer residents of the area or permanently living outside of the country.

The way many see it, the Comelec has not, and is still not doing its job right, especially during the days scheduled for candidates to file their certificates of candidacies.

Every election year, too many file their certificates of candidacy, many of whom even file for the presidential, vice presidential and senatorial seats despite knowing they have no chance of winning.

Comelec hardly does anything about this, by way of disqualifying the candidates who need to be disqualified, which is one reason the ballot for the automated election machines gets longer and the font for the list of candidates becomes smaller and smaller to fit the long list of bets who had filed their certificates of candidacy earlier and were included in the list even when a whole lot of them had no chance of winning at all.

What is worse is that some of those who clearly should have been disqualified by the Comelec en banc, according to the poll body’s rules and past decisions that are moreover already decided by the Supreme Court, were anyway included in the list of candidates.

The reason given by the Comelec? Flippantly, it says it had no time as election day was nearing.

Curiously though, one senatorial candidate who clearly should have been disqualified, following the many decisions as ruled by the High Court, was miraculously deemed qualified by the Comelec en banc before election day.

All others who were announced to be reviewed for disqualification were not bothered with by the Comelec with the issue of their qualification left unattended and undecided.

So the ballot was, as usual, cluttered with too many names that obviously would not get the votes needed.

No wonder, aside from the usual election year cheating of the number of votes, real democracy — by way of honest elections and honest votes, is never achieved in this godforsaken country.