By PNA | The Daily Tribune
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) may face legal problems and public anger if millions of registered voters will be barred from voting in the 2016 elections.
Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. predicted trouble for the Comelec, which is persuading over 4 million registered voters to have their biometrics taken as a requirement for voting in the 2016 election.
“Imagine, more than 4 million will be disqualified from voting in the 2016 presidential and local elections because of the lack of biometrics? This invites trouble. How will the Comelec be able to convince the people that this is right? I hope the people will not get mad. But I’m afraid they surely will,” Marcos said in a statement.
Biometrics data, which includes a voter’s photograph, fingerprint and signature, is mandated by the Mandatory Biometrics Registration Act of 2013 as a requisite for voting.
The poll body has started sending letters to encourage registered voters to have their biometrics taken, under threat of being delisted from the voters’ roster.
“We all know how passionate the Filipinos are about the elections. I wouldn’t be surprised if those who would be disqualified from voting will give the Comelec nightmares like cases in courts or social actions,” Marcos said.
Marcos echoed the Comelec’s appeal for the electorate to have their biometrics taken and even urged local government units to boost the poll body’s effort.
“I think local officials can help a lot because their constituents look up to them. Kapag sinabi nila sa kanilang nasasakupan na magpa-biometrics kayo, palagay ko susunod sila,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court (SC) has affirmed that the power of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to investigate and prosecute cases for election offenses is beyond question.
In an en banc resolution promulgated by Clerk of Court Enriqueta Vidal, the SC said that the Comelec Law Department was right when it pushed for the investigation of former Biliran Rep. Glenn Chong and Worthy Acosta for violation of Section 261 (z) (21) of Batas Pambansa Bilang 881.
On the basis of affidavits issued by Sixto Brillantes, Jr., then chairman of the Comelec, and Acosta, to the effect that petitioner, Margarita “Tingting” Cojuangco, Melchor Magdamo, and Agusto Lagman had direct participation in the trespassing, illicit removal and tampering of official ballots from ballot boxes in Baguio City, the Comelec Law Department filed the assailed complaint against Chong and Acosta.
After the May 2013 elections, Acosta, his then employer Cojuangco, Chong, and other persons, most of whom were candidates who lost in the 2013 elections, frequently met at the residence of President Benigno S. Aquino III’s aunt to discuss alleged election fraud and massive cheating during the 2013 and 2010 automated elections.
This move led to the issuance of subpoena on Chong by the Comelec Law Department allegedly informing them of the complaint and directing them to submit counter-affidavit.