THE poll body has discovered 43,000 double and multiple registrants in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (Armm) and Region 4-A (Calabarzon).

With the help of the biometrics and automated fingerprint identification system (AFIS), the information and technology department (ITD) of the poll body found out that some deliberately registered twice or thrice.

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The biometrics system, which was used in the registration for the 2010 automated polls, stores a voter's personal information, picture, signature, and his or her thumbprints.

Aside from Armm and Calabarzon, Comelec is also looking into the National Capital Region (NCR) area where they suspect that the same offense was committed by registered voters.

Commissioner Rene Sarmiento said the poll body is planning to authorize its ITD to remove these registrants from the official list of voters.

“Why would you register multiple times? This is very unusual. In other words, they registered in different precincts,” said Sarmiento.

The Comelec official added that some of these multiple registrants even posed with different hair styles and wore different clothes.

Although these multiple registrants may be allowed to vote, Sarmiento said they will still face the appropriate charges.

“The fact that they resorted to this double registration is by itself a violation of the Omnibus Election Code. They can vote but without prejudice to the filing of appropriate charges,” he said.

Under the Omnibus Election Code, those who will be proven guilty of registering multiple times may face one to six years imprisonment without probation and disqualification from holding public office.

The Supreme Court (SC) recognizes the first record of the voter as the valid registration. He or she will be allowed to vote in the precinct where his or her first registration data belongs.

Comelec is already conducting investigation on the cases and is planning to file charges. They may also designate the Department of Justice (DOJ) to punish these registrants.

Sarmiento meanwhile hopes that the discovery of the ITD will send a strong signal to voters to be careful in their registration "because we have this new technology to discover these cases."

The poll body has recorded over 50 million registered voters for the May 10 elections. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)