Comelec says cannot delist dead voters at this time

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 04 2022 02:37 PM

A ballot box at the Cotabato City Central Pilot School during the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) plebiscite, January 21, 2019. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News
A ballot box at the Cotabato City Central Pilot School during the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) plebiscite, January 21, 2019. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The Commission on Elections can no longer delist dead voters at this point in time since the poll body’s cleansing process is done, a poll commissioner said Wednesday.

“Dumating tayo sa point, February to March na nagke-cleansing process ang Commission, at kung yung mga kandidato at mga representative ng mga political parties or citizens arm na present during the cleansing sa bawat city, bawat municipality's Office of the Election Officer ay 'di sila nakapag-object sa pangalan ng isang kandidato na maaaring namatay na o andiyan pa rin sa kasalukuyan sa listahan, then until today andiyan sila sa listahan," Commissioner George Erwin Garcia said. 

(From February to March, the commission had a cleansing process. If candidates and representatives of political parties and citizens arm present at the city and municipal election offices then did not object to the names, then the names are still there.)

Garcia said mere notice from the next of kin won’t suffice to delist a dead person. 

“Hindi rin po di gagawin yun ng (election officer) dahil sa Republic Act 8189 natin, 'di pinapahintulot yung ganun, di pupuwede rin na porket nagsabi yung asawa, anak, o tao, magulang, nagsabi namatay na yan, automatically tatanggalin."

(The election can't delist a dead voter merely on the basis of notice from kin because it's prohibited under Republic Act 8189.)

Garcia said they are legally mandated to take notice only of the certification by the civil registrar.

“Under Republic 8189 or the continuing registration law, the Comelec will really rely on the certification to be issued by the civil registrar of the municipalities or cities doon sa kung saan andiyan nakatira yung mismong namatay (where the dead voter lived)."

"Hanggat walang certification--quarterly yun binibigay, every quarter--'di namin pwede tanggalin,” Garcia said.

(If there is no such certification, we can't delist their names.)

The lawyer noted Congress can enact a law that will make delisting dead voters more efficient. 

He explained that the present law requires a late voter's family to submit a copy of the death certificate to the election officer of the locality where the dead voter was registered. 

“May naisip nang solusyon ang Comelec--that is, makipag-usap sa Civil Registrar General sa national, sa main nila upang lahat ng namatay sa Pilipinas ay pwedeng maibigay sa Comelec so that at least makikita natin…” Garcia said.

“Ang Comelec na lang makikipag-coordinate sa local Comelec namin upang sabihan sila,” he added.

(The Comelec has a solution in mind--that is, the national Civil Registrar General should speak with the Comelec main office so we can see the names of dead voters. The Comelec main office will then coordinate with the local offices.)

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