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SC asked to scrap Comelec’s Oct. 31 deadline for voter registration

By: - Reporter / @TarraINQ
/ 07:41 PM October 29, 2015
SATELLITE REGISTRANTS From serious shopping to getting serious with their voting rights, these mall-goers fill up Commission on Elections (Comelec) forms at a Taguig mall yesterday. The Comelec set up satellite registration booths in several malls yesterday to reach out to more voters as part of its preparation for the May 2016 national election. EDWIN BACASMAS

Mall-goers fill up Commission on Elections (Comelec) forms at a Taguig mall. EDWIN BACASMAS

MANILA, Philippines — Apparently, a year and a half of the voter registration period is still not enough.

Youth leaders asked the Supreme Court, on Thursday, to stop the Commission on Elections (Comelec) from enforcing its Oct. 31 deadline for voters to enlist and register their biometric data for the 2016 elections, saying closing too soon would be too “illegal.”

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In a 22-page petition filed late afternoon on Thursday, Kabataan Partylist Representative Terry Ridon and seven other youth leaders asked the high court to compel Comelec to extend voter registration to Jan. 8, 2016.

This, just as last-minute registrants trooped to Comelec offices and designated malls to sign up and get their biometrics data recorded so they could vote in the presidential elections in May.

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Comelec opened voter registration in May 2014.

The petition cited how Comelec Resolution Nos. 9853 and 9981 had “illegally set the deadline” for voter registration to Saturday, in violation of Section 8 of the Voter’s Registration Act.

The law provides that “the personal filing of application of registration of voters shall be conducted daily in the office of the Election Officer during regular office hours,” and that “no registration shall… be conducted” 120 days or four months before a regular election, or 90 days or three months before a special election.

Ridon cited a 2009 ruling on a similar plea, where the high court held that Comelec “cannot prematurely terminate the continuing registration of voters before the prohibitive period of election registration defined under the law.”

“There is existing jurisprudence that proves that setting an October 31 registration deadline is illegal,” Ridon added.

The certiorari and mandamus petition asked the high court to issue a temporary restraining order or preliminary mandatory injunction to stop the Comelec from imposing the Oct. 31 deadline.

It also asked the court to declare the assailed Comelec resolutions unconstitutional.

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Ridon said he sent an urgent request to the Comelec en banc to extend the registration period last week.

“However, we feel that Comelec will again act on this request half-heartedly, that is why we seek relief before the high tribunal today,” Ridon said in a statement.  SFM

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TAGS: 2016 elections, biometrics, biometrics validation, Commission on Elections, court filing, court petition, Election, Kabataan partylist, law, news, Supreme Court, Terry Ridon, Voter Registration, Voter's Registration Act
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