Biometrics for Arroyo not needed after all, judge rulesBy Nathaniel R. Melican
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will not get a chance to validate her biometric information in time for the 2013 elections.
Judge Jesus Mupas of Pasay City Regional Trial Court Branch 112 on Thursday overturned his earlier decision ordering the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to bring a biometric machine to Arroyo’s hospital suite at Veterans Memorial Medical Center in order to validate her data.
Court spokesperson Felda Domingo said Mupas reversed the decision after the Comelec objected to it.
“First of all, there is no legal requirement necessitating the capture of her biometric data, which means that she can vote and run in the upcoming elections without it,” she said.
Lack of verified biometric data
Domingo said the lack of verified biometric data in the now Pampanga representative’s election record would not disenfranchise her from the polls.
“What is important is that she is a registered voter and the lack of her biometrics data will not impair her constitutional right to vote,” she said.
Mupas also took into consideration the logistical difficulties the Comelec enumerated in its objection, most notably the bringing of a biometrics machine from her hometown of Lubao, Pampanga, to her hospital suite in Quezon City.
“The Comelec said the machine would come from Lubao. At the moment, the Comelec staff are busy preparing for the 2013 polls,” Domingo said.
Arroyo’s camp has yet to reveal their next move.
Ray Montri Santos, Arroyo’s lawyer in the electoral sabotage case she is facing in Mupas’ court, said it was important for the former president to have her biometric data verified.
“We don’t want (the biometrics) issue to be used against her when she votes in the next elections,” he said.
Earlier, Mupas denied Arroyo’s petition to go to her hometown to have her biometrics data verified, citing challenges in securing her.
Instead, Mupas directed the Comelec to bring a biometrics machine to her hospital suite where she is recuperating from various illnesses.