THE Commission on Election (Comelec) may face possible legal problems and public anger if millions of voters will be barred from voting in the 2016 polls, Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said on Thursday.
"Imagine, more than four million will be disqualified from voting in the 2016 presidential and local elections because of the lack of biometrics? This invites trouble," Marcos said in a statement.
The Comelec is persuading some 4.3 million registered voters to have their biometrics taken as a requirement for voting in the upcoming elections.
Biometrics refers to the automated identification an individual, particularly his or her photograph, fingerprint and signature.
"How will the Comelec be able to convince the people that this is right? I hope the people will not get mad. But I'm afraid they surely will," he added.
The poll body has started sending letters to encourage registered voters to have their biometrics taken, under threat of being delisted from the voters' roster.
"We all know how passionate the Filipinos are about the elections. I wouldn't be surprised if those who would be disqualified from voting will give the Comelec nightmares like cases in courts or social actions," the senator said.
To avoid such problem, Marcos asked the electorate to have their biometrics and urged local government units to boost the poll body's effort.
"I think local officials can help a lot because their constituents look up to them. If they tell their people to get their biometric, I think the people will follow them," he said.
A Church-based election watchdog has written all the bishops and parishes in the country to remind the faithful during Sunday masses to check on the status of their election registration.
Henrietta de Villa, chairperson of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV), said that they have sent letters to the prelates and churches to help them in informing the people to update their registration and have their biometrics taken.
"Kaya ang kampanya ngayon ng Commission on Elections (Comelec) No Bio, No Boto; ang PPCRV yan ang tulong, nagpadala sila ng sulat sa lahat ng Obispo, sa lahat ng Parokya, sa mga Diyosesis na paalala lang na tuwing misa tuwing Linggo, paalala lang na yung mga botante mag-check ng status ng registration nila, bagkus hindi dahil naka-register sila o nakakaboto sila ng nakaraan o nakakasigurado sila na makakaboto sa 2016," she said in an interview over Church-run Radio Veritas.
De Villa said they ask priests to remind the faithful about the importance of biometrics registration since the people will not be able to vote if they failed to have their biometrics taken.
The PPCRV head also expressed alarm over the 4.3 million registered voters that are likely to be disenfranchised for not having biometrics registration.
She noted that the voting rights and obligation of the people starts with orderly and complete registration.
"Yung karapatan at tungkulin na makaboto o bumoto, yung electoral process nagsisimula sa registration, kung wala kang registration o wala kang complete registration status, hindi mo rin makukuha yung karapatan mo at hindi mo magagawa yung tungkulin mo, kaya yun ang pinakaunang hakbang na dapat tupadin," she added.
Under Republic Act 10367 or the Mandatory Biometrics Registration Act of 2013, voters, who fail to submit for validation prior to the May 2016 elections, shall be deactivated from the voters' list and shall not be allowed to vote. (With FP/Sunnex)