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SC stops “No Bio, No Boto” policy

Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon (The Freeman) - December 1, 2015 - 9:00am

CEBU, Philippines - The Supreme Court yesterday issued a temporary restraining order against the “No Bio, No Boto” policy of the Commission on Elections requiring voters to register their biometrics before they are allowed to vote in the 2016 elections.

SC spokesperson Theodore Te said that in its en banc session, the high tribunal resolved to issue a TRO “effective immediately and continuing until further orders from the Court.”

The TRO directed the poll body to “desist from deactivating registered voters without biometric information.”

The high court also asked Comelec and the Solicitor General to submit its comment within a non-extendable period of 10 days from notice.

SC issued the TRO following the petition for certiorari and prohibition filed by the youths’ group Kabataan Partylist led by Representative Terry Ridon.

The group filed the petition last week arguing that the implementation of the “No Bio, No Boto” policy violates the Constitution since it adds a substantive requirement for Filipinos to be able to exercise their right to suffrage.

The group also challenged Comelec Resolutions 9721, 9863 and 1013 and the Republic Act 10367 otherwise known as an “Act Providing for  Mandatory Biometrics Voter Registration” as they seek to nullify the policy that provides for deactivation of voters without digital photograph, signature and fingerprints in their registration records.

About three million registered voters without biometrics are at risk of not being able to vote in the 2016 general elections.

   “We welcome the issuance of a TRO against the ‘No Bio, No Boto’ policy as it is an immediate relief for over three million registered voters who stand to illegally lose their right of suffrage in the May 9, 2016 national and local elections without the benefit of due process due to this patently unconstitutional scheme,” said Ridon in a statement.

Ridon said that while it is good that the SC has addressed this grave and urgent concern immediately, the youths will remain vigilant and on guard until ‘No Bio, No Boto’ is declared unconstitutional with finality. — (FREEMAN)

ACIRC ACT PROVIDING COMELEC AND THE SOLICITOR GENERAL COMELEC RESOLUTIONS KABATAAN PARTYLIST MANDATORY BIOMETRICS VOTER REGISTRATION NO BIO NO BOTO REPRESENTATIVE TERRY RIDON REPUBLIC ACT RIDON
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