Ghost voters roam in ARMM

By Mayen Jaymalin, The Philippine Star

Posted at Apr 23 2012 07:41 AM | Updated as of Apr 23 2012 06:17 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Over 130,000 “ghost voters” and multiple registrants were discovered and removed from the voters’ list of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) reported that about 134,000 double or multiple registrants were found during the cleansing of voters’ lists in the ARMM.

Comelec Commissioner Rene Sarmiento said they have discovered 134,000 double and multiple registrants in the ARMM with 101,000 already removed from the voters’ list.

Sarmiento said there are also some 184,000 voters in the region that have yet to be registered in the biometrics system.

As of the October 2010 barangay polls, there were a total of 1,707,277 registered voters in the ARMM.

Thus, the Comelec sees no need to nullify the existing voters’ list in ARMM as suggested by Malacañang.

Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes said the commission has denied the government’s bid to restart the voters’ registration in the ARMM except in Maguindanao.

“We are willing to go with Maguindanao but not all provinces (in the ARMM),” Brillantes said.

Malacañang had asked the Comelec to annul if possible the existing voters’ list in ARMM and to restart the voters’ registration using the biometric machines in a bid to ensure a credible 2013 polls in the region.

Brillantes said the commission made a counter-proposal that they will approve the annulment of voters’ list in the other provinces of ARMM but only on a “case-to-case” basis.

“Our suggestion is to approach it on a case-to-case basis. If they feel there’s an area which in the past, then they can file there but not for the whole province,” said Brillantes.

Brillantes said that there is already a pending petition before the Comelec to annul the voters’ list in Maguindanao.

ARMM comprise the provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi.