Comelec chairman clarifies stance on Bill 1030, reverses “alarmist” comments

November 16, 2012 - 

Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Sixto Brillantes clarified the statement he made earlier this week in which he suggested Bill 1030, recently passed by the Philippine Senate would disenfranchise 8 million potential voters, Balita reports.

Bill 1030, passed earlier this week, mandates the biometric registration of voters in the Philippines. This bill requires voters who haven’t already submitted a biometric profile to appear before an election officer to have their photographs, fingerprints and signatures processed for upcoming election.

As we reported, following the passing of this bill, Brillantes released a statement suggesting that eight million Filipinos – or 15 per cent of total voters – will be robbed of their right to vote if Congress were to pass the Bill 1030. In response to the Comelec chairman’s statement, Senator Auilino Pimentel said: “I believe that is a baseless alarmist statement.”

“This law, although it may be passed in 2012 or 2013, the practical effects of this law will be really felt and this law is really meant to enhance and improve the 2016 elections because we cannot regulate an act which happened before the passage of the law,” Pimentel said.

According to Brillantes, his comments were taken out of context when asked on the possible effect of the biometric registration if it will take effect in the May 2013 polls.

“I have always answered that I prefer it to take effect in 2016 as it would give the voters time to validate and that the 2013 polls is too close,” Brillantes said on his official Twitter account.

“If its effectivity will be in 2013, many voters with no biometrics may be disenfranchised since we can no longer reopen revalidation. My view, therefore, is consistent with that of Senators [Alan Peter] Cateyano and [Koko] Pimentel – only that my statements were unfortunately taken out of context,” he said.

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