Comelec: ARMM voters’ list fraud to failPhilippine Daily Inquirer
COTABATO CITY—Election officials overseeing the registration of voters in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) expressed confidence that efforts by politicians to manipulate the process would fail.
“They can bus in as many people as they want to register and they would be disqualified,” said Sixto Brillantes, a former election lawyer and now chair of the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
“You’re wasting your money,” said Brillantes, addressing himself to political clans in ARMM known to be behind a machinery that has made the region notorious for election fraud.
The 10-day registration started last Monday and is aimed at cleansing the list of voters in the region that has gained notoriety for highly questionable election results like zero votes for some candidates for senator in 2007.
Brillantes, interviewed by a radio station in Tawi-Tawi, said Comelec has mechanisms to detect fraud in the registration. “We will find out,” he said.
One of these mechanisms, he said, is the use of biometrics which determines the identity of a person by, among others, his or her fingerprints or DNA.
The election watchdog Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting reported cases of fraud during the registration, like minors being made to register as voters. Other cases of fraud include the use of so-called flying voters, or people who register and vote in areas where they are not residents.
Brillantes said Comelec could counter politicians’ efforts to manipulate voter registration by simply removing suspect names on the list. “Nobody will vote for them come election time,” Brillantes said.
The Comelec chief also said there won’t be any extension of the 10-day registration period in ARMM, composed of the provinces of Maguindanao, Sulu, Basilan, Tawi-Tawi and Lanao del Sur.
“We have set 10 days and within that period, all qualified voters must register or they cannot vote in next year’s elections,” Brillantes said.
He also rejected appeals for the Comelec to allow ARMM natives who are working or studying outside the region to register in their current places of residency. Edwin Fernandez, Dennis Santos and Richel Umel, Inquirer Mindanao