EDITORIAL - One less hurdle
(The Philippine Star) - December 16, 2015 - 9:00am

The Commission on Elections was accused of trying to blackmail the Supreme Court. But Comelec officials had valid reason to worry about the temporary restraining order issued by the SC on the implementation of the “no bio, no boto” voter biometrics program of the poll body. Comelec officials warned that the TRO, if not lifted soon, could lead to the suspension of the May 2016 vote.

Yesterday the high tribunal not only lifted the TRO but also gave the green light for the program, which requires all voters to have their biometric data taken. The Comelec embarked on a nationwide information campaign for over a year, warning that voters could be disenfranchised in 2016 if they failed to have their biometrics taken. Only those living in a cave, or who suffered severe physical impairment throughout the year, or who deliberately rejected the program could have failed to have their biometric data recorded.

The biometrics program was mandated under the election law and the Comelec simply implemented it. No law is perfect and the biometrics program has always had its critics. But the law has been passed after public deliberations, and the right of suffrage has certain requirements that must be met before it can be exercised. The majority of voters complied with those requirements and want the elections to proceed as scheduled.

The petitioners may seek a reconsideration of the SC ruling, although the tribunal is unlikely to reverse its unanimous decision. The Comelec can proceed with its preparations for the 2016 general elections, which have already been set back by questions on the voting machines to be used and which company would supply them. Yesterday’s SC ruling meant one less hurdle for the Comelec. There’s still too much work ahead to ensure that the general elections will be orderly, clean and credible.

ACIRC BIOMETRIC BIOMETRICS BUT COMELEC COMELEC DATA ELECTIONS LAW PROGRAM SUPREME COURT VOTERS
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