Comelec finds 400,000 multiple poll registrants
Using its automated fingerprint identification system, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) found around 400,000 double or multiple registrants for the Oct. 30 barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections.
“As of today, we were able to detect over 400,000 double or multiple registrants who applied for voter registration during the period of Dec. 12, 2022, to Jan. 31, 2023,” Comelec Chair George Garcia said on Thursday.
“We will be finished with our assessment by the end of May and probably (the number of double or multiple registrations) will reach at least 500,000,” he added.
Garcia made the revelation in the face of a possible Senate investigation into the questionable increase in the number of voter registrants for the upcoming elections.
He explained that the Comelec’s automated fingerprint identification system constantly cross-checks the fingerprints from the biometrics data of all registered voters nationwide to weed out double or multiple registrants.
The poll body’s affected field offices will convene their election registration boards to officially remove the errant registrants from the list of registered voters, Garcia said.
On Tuesday, Sen. Imee Marcos, who heads the Senate electoral reforms and people’s participation panel, filed a resolution seeking an inquiry into the alleged massive fraudulent registration of voters for the barangay and SK elections.
Marcos cited reports of increases in the volume of registered voters in some barangays that “far [outpaced] the projected population growth forecast by government agencies.”
‘Massive and unexplained’
She specifically pointed to the “massive and unexplained” sharp rise in the number of registered voters and registrants from Barangay Carmona, Makati City, despite no recorded mass migration of new residents to the area or an increase in the territory of the barangay.
According to Marcos, there were allegations that the sudden surge in voter registrations was “bankrolled by big-time businessmen, contractors and suppliers in anticipation of the increase in the internal revenue allotment of barangays.”
The Comelec said last month that it had already printed 90,613,426 ballots for the barangay and SK elections. An additional 1.6 million would be printed for the new voters who signed up during the registration period from Dec. 12 last year to Jan. 31 this year.
The printed ballots consist of 66,973,949 ballots for the barangay elections for all locally registered voters age 18 and above on top of 23,639,477 ballots for the SK elections for voters between 15 and 30 years old.
Based on the Philippine Statistics Authority’s 2020 census of population and housing, the country’s total population was 109,035,343.
By age group, those between 15 and 64 years old totaled 69.40 million while those 65 years old and above numbered 5.86 million.