THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) office in Baguio City is clearing the list of double registrants in the city but the process would take time, said a poll official.

Comelec Regional Director Julius Torres said cross-referencing the data will take time as this can only be done in the national headquarters of the agency in Manila.

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“Cross-referencing will take so much time and not all registered voters had their biometric data taken considering many of them have been voters for many past elections,” Torres said.

He, however, assured that with the biometric data available, like fingerprints, double registrants can be easily identified.

The biometric system was implemented nationally just this year to cleanse voter’s list of multiple registrants.

However, Torres said the Comelec regional office will furnish the public a copy of those who are multiple registrants so they will have ample time to clarify and ascertain their exact precinct and real identities.

“The Comelec usually recognizes the first precinct registration of the voter and not the second one; however, if this will be clarified by the voter, then that will be the time that we will accept the second registration as the legal one,” he explained.

Double registrants came out due to flying voter cases reported in the past elections.

Torres said that if found out, the flying voters may be held accountable for their offense.

The Omnibus Election Code states that cases of double registrants will prosper only if a complaint will be filed against the flying voter.

Torres warned that the Comelec office in the city has pursued cases of double registrants in past elections and penalized them.

“With this, the Comelec will not be hesitant to pursue similar cases as well,” he stressed.

The poll body has provided ways to prevent double registrants by advising voters to consult with their election officers to find out if their previous registration is still active.

If the election officers find their registration in another municipality or city is still active, the voter will then be advised to apply for transfer of registration by executing an affidavit stating that they will no longer vote in their previous voting precinct.

A double registrant found guilty is punishable by not less than one year of imprisonment up to six years as stipulated in the Omnibus Election Code. (JM Agreda)