Comelec urges enactment of House-passed Biometrics bill
THE Commission on Elections has urged Congress to fast track the approval of a bill requiring biometrics registration for all qualified voters.
Appearing before the House Committee on Appropriation, Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes said, of the 52 million registered voters, about 9 million of them have yet to submit for their biometrics.
“There’s a need for a law requiring the mandatory biometrics capture of all registered voters to really allow a thorough cleansing of the national voters’ registry,” Brillantes said.
House records, particularly of the Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms chaired by Rep. Elpidio Barzaga, Jr. (Lone District, City of Dasmariñas), showed that a related bill had been approved on May 5, 2011 and received by the Senate on May 31, 2011.
House Bill 3469, authored by Rep. Susan Yap (2nd District, Tarlac), is a measure “requiring all registered voters whose biometrics have not been captured to appear before the Election officer of their place of registration for purposes of having their photographs, fingerprints and signatures captured through the method of biometrics, for purposes
of ensuring that the Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) can be utilized to cleanse the records of double or multiple registrants.”
Under the bill, “those registered voters as of May 10, 2010 national elections and those who thereafter registered and will register under Republic Act No. 8189, otherwise known as ‘the Voter’s Registration Act of 1996’, without biometrics data shall submit for live capture his/her photograph, fingerprint and signature through the use of the DCM (Data Capture Machine) before the Election Officer of the city/municipality where he/she is a registered voter or intends to register.”
The bill also states that the Comelec may consider opening its offices nationwide on any given Saturday to accommodate new registrants especially college students who are only free during the weekends.
The City and Municipal Election Officers, through the use of DCMs, shall conduct the validation process by taking the biometrics of voters. Validation shall be conducted upon the effectivity of the proposed Act, consistent with the Continuing Registration Act.
Voters who failed to summit for validation on or before the last day of filing of application for registration for purposes of the 2013 national and local elections, despite due notice, shall be deactivated from the Registration Record of voters by the Election Registration
However, the bill provides that those deactivated under the proposed Act may apply before the election Registration Board for reactivation with simultaneous validation and the applicant shall, if eligible, be included as a matter of right in the Registration Record of Voters.
The bill provides further that “any registered party may file with the Comelec the names of the voters which should be excluded, removed or corrected from the computerized nationwide registration lists stating the reasons thereof.”
Any person who shall prohibit, impede, obstruct or prevent a registered voter from submitting his/her biometrics for data capture through the use of force, intimidation or monetary consideration shall be liable to the penal provisions of the Omnibus Election Code.