3.3 million "polluted" voters cleansed from voters list--Comelec

Maria Althea Teves, abs-cbnNEWS.com/ Newsbreak

Posted at Mar 03 2009 03:13 PM | Updated as of Apr 03 2009 09:08 PM

The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) has already cleansed the registered voters list of around 3.3 Million “polluted” voters Chairman Jose Melo told abs-cbnnews.com/Newsbreak in an interview Tuesday, March 3, 2009.

Melo said that of the 3.3 Million voters which were purged from the voters list, majority failed to vote twice since their registration in 1997 and around 150,000 have been recorded deceased.
Also included in the voters removed from the list are unintentional double registrants.

“A lot of people forget to have their former registration deactivated when they transfer areas,” COMELEC Commissioner Nicodemo Ferrer said.

To address the problem of unintentional or deliberate double or multiple registrants, the COMELEC’s information technology department gave election officers a national list of registered voters “to check whether applicants have already registered in a different location,” said executive director Jose M. Tolentino.

This is also to alert the registrant if he or she needs apply for a transfer instead of registering again.

“A lot of registered voters do not know how to apply for a transfer. In applying for transfer, it is automatic that their previous registration will be cancelled,” Tolentino said.

The Comelec also assisted in the transfer of registration of some 2,000 registered voters from Quezon City who were relocated to San Mateo.

“We provide a satellite registration for them, they don’t need to go to us, we go to them,” Tolentino said.

Melo said that it is important that relocated registered voters are assisted in deactivating their registration in their old area so that the voters can avail of basic services in their new areas of residence. “Politicians are not taking care of them in their new area. Their votes are not important to those politicians,” Melo said.

Earlier, Loretta Rosales, President of Institute of Political and Electoral Reform (IPER), said that there were 2.5M polluted voters last elections.

She noted that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo won by less than a million votes over Fernando Poe, Jr. “That is less than the total number of polluted votes.”

She urged the Comelec to have the polluted votes removed for the 2010 elections because “we don’t want another 2004 elections.”

Double or multiple registration is an offense under the Omnibus Election Code. Those found guilty will face imprisonment of up to six years, cannot hold public office and will be deprived the right to vote.

In case a registered voter has double registration, he should execute an affidavit at the EO’s office where he is previously registered declaring the desire to cancel registration in that area. That previous registration will be cancelled.