September 30, 2023

The Commission on Elections has ordered all local election offices to delist voters who, based on their database, are registered in different polling areas.

Comelec Chair George Erwin Garcia said using the automated fingerprint identification system (AFIS), the agency can now verify voters who have multiple registration.

He said if the Comelec detects there are more than 500 multiple registrants in one polling center, local election offices will be directed to prepare the procedure on delisting.

The target date will be on or before July 27 prior to the release of the list of voters by August.

Garcia, who was in Baguio last week as guest of honor in the annual general assembly of the Comelec-Cordillera, said due process will be followed prior to delisting.

Local election offices will issue notices to those found to have multiple registrations.

“Delisting will not be automatic. Since it is a constitutional right to vote, notices will be issued first. Kasi hindi lahat ng double registration ay mali. ‘Yung iba lumipat lang ng residence pero intact pa rin ang registration,” Garcia said.

But he stressed that if based on their AFIS it is found the registration multiple times is deliberate, Comelec will file charges for violation of election laws.

Comelec has assured that local election offices will decide on nuisance candidates prior to the filing of candidacy of barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections.

“Sinasamantala kasi ng ilan na nagpapatakbo ng kung sinu-sinong kandidato,” Garcia said, adding this is a commitment he made when he met with the House Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms.

Garcia said Comelec is prepared for the barangay and SK elections, which is scheduled on Oct. 30. Filing of Certificate of Candidacy is from Aug. 28 to Sept. 2.

The synchronized elections were supposed to have been conducted in December 2022.

Republic Act 11935 set the synchronized barangay and SK elections on the last Monday of October 2023 and every three years thereafter.

The term of office of barangay officials will commence at noon of Nov. 30. – Rimaliza A. Opiña