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MANILA - The Supreme Court (SC) has stopped the Commission on Elections (Comelec) from deactivating registered voters who have not had their biometric data taken.
The high court issued the ruling in favor of the plea of several petitioners led by Kabataan Party-list during its en banc session today.
In its petition, Kabataan Party-list assailed the constitutionality of the "No Bio, No Boto" policy of the poll body, which is said to deprive more than three million registered voters without biometrics of their right to participate in the upcoming 2016 synchronized national and local elections.
The Comelec and Office of the Solicitor General were directed to file their comments on the petition within a non-extendible period of 10 days.
In its 32-page petition, Kabataan Party-list said the Comelec's move to deactivate the registration of voters without biometrics is unconstitutional, and asked the high court to strike down certain provisions of Republic Act No. 10367 or "An Act Providing for Mandatory Biometrics Voter Registration."
Petitioners also sought the nullification of COMELEC Resolution No. 9721, dated June 26, 2013, Resolution No. 9863, dated April 1, 2014, and Resolution No. 10013, all related to deactivation of voter registration records in the May 9, 2016 National and Local Elections.
Petitioners stressed that the said law and Comelec issuances "impose an unconstitutional, additional substantive requirement imposed on the exercise of suffrage, thus violating Section 1, Article V of the 1987 Constitution."
Petitioners noted that the 1987 Constitution explicitly states that "[n]o literacy, property, or other substantive requirement shall be imposed on the exercise of suffrage."
"Secondly, the biometrics validation gravely violates due process as it an unreasonable deprivation of the constitutional right to vote for millions of Filipinos who have failed to register their biometric information despite existing and active registration - in effect a voter's re-registration - for various reasons whether personal or institutional," petitioners said.
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