Manila Standard Today – Bongbong hails order stopping ‘no bio’ plan

By Macon Ramos-Araneta | Manila Standard Today

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Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said Wednesday the Supreme Court’s temporary restraining order stopping the Commission on Election’s implementation of its “no-bio, no boto” policy had given hope to the millions of registered voters without biometric data.

He said those who failed to register under the biometric system with the Comelec could still exercise their right to vote in the coming May 2016 elections.

“It’s no trivial matter to take away this right from so many people,” Marcos said.

The TRO stops the Comelec from immediately deactivating the registration of the estimated three-million voters without biometric information.

“This is a welcome development. For most of our people the only time they can actually voice what they want their government to be is when they cast their votes,” Marcos said

But it will still depend on the high court’s ruling on the merits of the case whether or not the registered voters who failed to submit biometric data to the Comelec could actually vote in the May 2016 elections.

The high court issued the TRO in connection with a petition questioning the constitutionality of the Comelec’s policy.

“I believe the right of suffrage is fundamental to democracy and that any doubt should be resolved in favor of allowing a qualified and registered voter to cast his vote,” Marcos said.

The Supreme Court stopped the Comelec from implementing its policy compelling voters to register using biometrics before they are allowed to vote in next year’s general elections on Tuesday.

In issuing the TRO, the Court acted on the petition filed by youth groups led by Kabataan party-list Rep. Terry Ridon last week, and the order is “effective immediately and continuing until further orders from the Court,” high court spokesman Theodore Te told reporters.

Te said the Court also required the Comelec to answer the petition and submit its comment within 10 days from notice.

The Court also ordered the Office of the Solicitor General to submit its separate comment on the petition within the same period.

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