Comelec acts on list of double registrants
By Leila Salaverria
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—The cat is out of the bag.
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has confirmed the existence of potential “flying voters” that could mar the country’s first nationwide automated elections on May 10.
In a March 10 resolution released over the weekend, the Comelec said its information technology department had found 704,542 voters with double or multiple registration records.
The department also printed a list of voters whose registration records were not valid per precinct and per district, municipality or city, which were disseminated to election officers.
The Comelec ordered the removal of the other registration records of voters with double or multiple registration, and directed the Board of Election Inspectors not to allow them to vote.
The poll body also ordered the deletion of the registration records of the voters in the next hearings of the Election Registration Board.
In October last year, the Comelec said that in cases where voters were found to have registered in two or more districts, the latest registration should prevail and this was the only place where they would be allowed to vote.
In cases where there were double or multiple registrants in the same district, the original registration would prevail.
Comelec officials also earlier said that the double registration could simply be a result of the inadvertent failure to cancel previous records of voters who had changed residences and did not mean a subversion of the balloting.
Lawyer Howard Calleja of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) welcomed the Comelec’s disclosure.
The Comelec’s citizen arm had earlier called attention to its discovery of about 40,000 voters entered as “double, multiple or dead registrants” in Davao City and Davao del Sur.
Calleja said the PPCRV would continue checking the voters’ lists in other provinces. “We want to see if the figure is correct. It might be short or whatever,” he said.
Calleja earlier said that if 80 other provinces would have 40,000 questionable voters as in the Davao region, that could translate to about 3 million questionable voters nationwide.
He said that the 700,000 double and multiple registrants found by the Comelec was a significant number of voters that could spell the difference between victory and defeat for candidates.