Thursday, November 26, 2015

Article V, Section 1 of the 1987 Constitution: “No literacy, property, or other substantive requirement shall be imposed” on the right to vote.

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YOUTH groups led by the party-list group Kabataan asked the Supreme Court on Wednesday to junk as unconstitutional the 2012 law requiring voters to register their biometrics.
In a 32-page petition for certiorari and prohibition, the youth groups said Republic Act No. 10367 -- the precursor for the Commission on Elections’ #NoBioNoBoto policy for the 2016 elections -- imposed additional requirements that were in excess of those mandated by the 1987 Constitution.

The petition cited Article V, Section 1 of the 1987 Constitution, which stated that “no literacy, property, or other substantive requirement shall be imposed” on the right to vote.

The youth groups said the biometrics law, as well as Comelec’s resolutions enforcing it, imposed “an additional substantive requirement for all voters.”

Even registered voters risk being deactivated should they fail to comply with the new requirement, “thus effectively barring them from the exercise of their right to vote.”

“Except for requirements already enshrined in the Constitution, no other substantive requirement should be imposed to hinder qualified voters from the exercise of such sacred right,” the petition read.

The petition noted that active registered voters comprise the bulk of those risking disenfranchisement by failing to comply with the new requirement.

It said the validation requirement also violated due process because it unduly deprives non-compliant but active voters of their right to vote despite already being registered.

The youth group cited official communication with Comelec that as of Sept. 30, 3.06 million registered voters were without biometrics. This was 5.86% of the total number of registered voters for the 2013 elections.

“It is thus apparent that over three million registered voters 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 the implementation of an additional requirement that is patently unconstitutional,” the petition stated.

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