Comelec chief: ARMM voters' registration OK

by Jon Carlos Rodriguez,

Posted at Jul 18 2012 09:21 PM | Updated as of Jul 19 2012 04:10 PM

MANILA, Philippines – Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Sixto Brillantes said the general voters’ registration in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), which ended on Wednesday, was generally peaceful.

Brillantes said incidents of violence in some precincts were isolated and did not disrupt the 10-day registration.

“We don’t have reports of any major peace and order problem, OK lahat. That was solved by us allowing everybody to register if they want to,” he told ANC’s “Top Story” on Wednesday.

Weeding out minors, ‘hakots’

Brillantes said an estimated 50,000 minors registered to vote in ARMM but noted that although they were allowed to register, they will be removed from the master list.

“The process of the registration is that these are just applications and then we take their biometrics. After this, we consolidate the records,” Brillantes said.

“’Yung mga minors we have no problem kasi talagang identifiable, mga 12 years old, mga 14,” he added.

He said Comelec had expected that a number of underage voters would attempt to register.

However, Brillantes noted that the minors will not be penalized.

“We don’t like to penalize these minors kasi talagang hindi nila kasalanan. Talagang dinadala ‘yan sa mga barangay officials, sa mga kandidato, sa mga incumbent, and even the oppostion. We don’t want to penalize them. The penalty will simply be that they will not be allowed to vote. That’s good enough for us for the meantime,” he said.

He also said it would be difficult to determine the political group or party who sent the minors to register.

Brillantes added that double registrants will also be removed from the master list.

Another 50,000 illegal registrants or “hakots” were observed by Comelec officials during the registration.

Brillantes said they expect the number of registrants, after the post-verification process, to go down to 1.2 million.

The voters’ registration aims to clean up the 1.7 million voters in ARMM, which is believed to be fraught with voters who were underage, registered in multiple areas, or already dead.