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Supreme Court junks petition vs 'No Bio, No Boto'

(Philstar.com) - December 15, 2015 - 9:32pm

MANILA, Philippines — Registered voters who failed to record their biometrics with the Commission on Elections (Comelec) will not be able to vote in May next year, the Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday.

Voting unanimously, the high court's 15 magistrates ruled to lift the halt order on the Comelec's "No Bio, No Boto" rule, junking the petition questioning the policy, Supreme Court Spokesperson Theodore Te said in a televised briefing.

"The SC dismissed the petition for lack of merit and dissolved the December 1 TRO," Te said.

In a 32-page petition for certiorari and prohibition filed in November, left-leaning groups led by Kabataan party-list Rep. Terry Ridon argued that biometrics validation and deactivation under Republic Act 10367 or "An Act Providing for Mandatory Biometrics Voter Registration" is unconstitutional for limiting the democratic right to suffrage.

"Biometrics validation gravely violates constitutional due process, applying the strict scrutiny test, as it is not poised as a compelling reason for state regulation and is an unreasonable deprivation of the right to suffrage," the petition stated.

Three million voters have failed to register their biometrics for the upcoming national elections.

Elections Chair Andres Bautista said that the poll agency had launched a year-long campaign urging registered voters to have their biometrics taken by local Comelec offices.

"I hope they (the Supreme Court magistrates) realize that the Comelec is doing all it can to meet the deadline but if we could not make it happen like in this case what could we do? Probably we might have to postpone the elections and that could be a disaster," Bautista told the STAR in a previous report. — Camille Diola

AN ACT PROVIDING CAMILLE DIOLA COMELEC ELECTIONS CHAIR ANDRES BAUTISTA MANDATORY BIOMETRICS VOTER REGISTRATION NO BIO NO BOTO QUOT REPUBLIC ACT SUPREME COURT SUPREME COURT SPOKESPERSON THEODORE TE
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