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06 July 2012

GENERAL REGISTRATION OF VOTERS IN ARMM ON JULY 9-18, 2012


BACKGROUNDER
Sec. 7 of RA 8189 (The Voter’s Registration Act of 1996), annulled by operation of law, the book of voters for the entire nation that paved the way for the conduct of a nationwide General Registration of Voters. For purposes of the May 1998 elections, the Commission Election undertook in 1997 a general registration of voters on specified dates as prescribed by RA 8189. Since then, the government adopted a system of continuing registration of voters where qualified voters may file their application for registration in the office of the Election Officer at anytime during regular office hours except during the period starting 120 before a regular election and 90 days before a special election.
Meanwhile, in 2003, by virtue of the petitions to annul the book of voters in the ARMM filed by Election Officers, the COMELEC annulled the book of voters in the region. Subsequently, general registration of voters was conducted using the Voter Registration Machine (VRM) to capture the biometrics (picture, fingerprint and signature) of voters.
Recently, in May 2012, Congressional Joint Resolution No. 17 annulled once again the book of voters of the municipalities/cities in ARMM and directed the COMELEC to immediately conduct a new general registration of voters in the region. Pursuant to this, the COMELEC scheduled the registration on July 9 to 18, 2012, inclusive of Sunday and holidays, from 8:00 a.m. up to 5:00 p.m.

PRELIMINARIES ON REGISTRATION OF VOTERS
What is registration?
Registration refers to the act of accomplishing and filing a sworn application for registration by a qualified voter before the election officer of the city or municipality wherein he resides and including the same in the book of registered voters upon approval by the Election Registration Board.
Why must a person register first before exercising the right to vote?
ü  Registration is a means to determine who are qualified to exercise the right to vote.
ü  It regulates the exercise of the right to vote.
 What are the requirements in order to register as a voter?
ü  Citizen of the Philippines, not otherwise disqualified by law;
ü  At least 18 years of age;
ü  Resident of the Philippines for at least 1 year; and
ü  Resident of the city or municipality wherein he proposes to vote for at least 6 months immediately preceding the election.
Any person who, on the day of registration may not have reached the required age or period of residence but, who, on the day of the election shall possess such qualifications, may register as a voter.
Who are disqualified from registering?
ü  Any person who has been sentenced by final judgment to suffer imprisonment for not less than 1 year, such disability not having been removed by plenary pardon or granted amnesty. Such person shall automatically reacquire the right to vote upon expiration of 5 years after service of sentence.
ü  Any person who has been adjudged by final judgment by competent court or tribunal of having committed any crime involving disloyalty to the duly constituted government such as rebellion, sedition, violation of the firearms law, or any crime against national security, unless restored to his full civil and political rights. Such person shall regain his right to vote automatically upon expiration of 5 years after service of sentence.
ü  Insane or incompetent persons as declared by competent authority unless subsequently declared by proper authority that such person is no longer insane or incompetent.
When should registration of voters take place?
ü  The personal filing of application of registration of voters shall be conducted daily in the office of the Election Officer during regular office hours. [System of Continuing Registration of Voters]
ü  No registration shall be conducted during the period starting 120 days before a regular election and 90 days before a special election.
How does one register as a voter?
To register, the qualified voter shall personally accomplish an application form for registration as prescribed by the Commission in three (3) copies. The application shall contain the following data:
a) Name, surname, middle name, and/or maternal surname;
b) Sex;
c) Date, and place of birth;
d) Citizenship;
e) Civil status, if married, name of spouse;
f) Profession, occupation or work;
g) Periods of residence in the Philippines and in the place of registration;
h) Exact address with the name of the street and house number for location in the precinct maps maintained by the local office of the Commission, or in case there is none, a brief description of his residence, sitio, and barangay;
i) A statement that the applicant possesses all the qualifications of a voter;
j) A statement that the applicant is not a registered voter of any precinct; and
k) Such information or data as may be required by the Commission.

The application for registration shall contain 3 specimen signatures of the applicant, clear and legible rolled prints of his left and right thumbprints, with 4 identification size copies of his latest photograph, attached thereto, to be taken at the expense of the Commission.
Before the applicant accomplishes his application for registration, the Election Officer shall inform him of the qualifications and disqualifications prescribed by law for a voter, and thereafter, see to it that the accomplished application contains all the data therein required and that the applicant’s specimen signatures, fingerprints, and photographs are properly affixed in all copies of the voter’s application.

ELECTION OFFENSES ON REGISTRATION OF VOTERS
I. Those committed on the day of registration
A.      Threats, intimidation, terrorism, use of fraudulent device or other forms of coercion – Elements:
1.       The offender is any person
2.       Who directly or indirectly
a.       Threatens, intimidates or actually causes, inflicts or produces any violence, injury, punishment, damage, loss or disadvantage upon a person or persons or that of the immediate members of his family, his honor or property, or
b.      Uses any fraudulent device or scheme
3.       To compel or induce the registration or refraining from registration of any voter (or the participation in a campaign or refraining or desistance from any campaign, or the casting of any vote or omission to vote, or any promise of such registration, campaign, vote, or omission therefrom).

B.      Delay or obstruction of registration of another – Elements:
1.       The offender is any person
2.       Who delays, hinders or obstructs another from registering.

C.      Making a false or untruthful statement of data or information required in application for registration – Elements:
1.       The offender is any person
2.       Who knowingly makes any false or untruthful  statement
3.       Relative to any data or information required in the application for registration.

D.      Blurring or tampering of fingerprints on application for registration or voter’s affidavit. [not applicable anymore since we are already using the Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS)]

E.       Double or multiple registration – Elements:
1.       The offender is a registered voter
2.       Who registers anew without filing an application for cancellation of his previous registration.

F.       Registration in substitution for another – Elements:
1.       The offender is any person
2.       Who registers in substitution for another whether with or without the latter’s knowledge or consent.

G.     Tampering of voter’s application for registration – Elements:
1.       The offender is any person
2.       Who tampers with or changes without authority any data or entry in any voter’s application for registration.

H.      False certification or identification of another as bona fide resident of a particular place – Elements:
1.       The offender is any person
2.       Who falsely certifies or identifies another as a bona fide resident of a particular place or locality
3.       For the purpose of securing the latter’s registration as a voter.

I.        Interfering with, impeding, absconding for purpose of gain or preventing the installation or use of computers and devices and the processing, storage, generation, and transmission of registration data or information.
II. Those committed after registration 
J.        Unlawful approval or disapproval of application for registration – Elements:
1.       The offender is any member of the board of election inspectors. 
2.       He either:
a.       Approves any application which on its face shows that the applicant does not possess all the qualifications prescribed by law for a voter; or
b.      Disapproves any application which on its face shows that the applicant possesses all such qualifications.

K.      Issuance or causing the issuance of a voter’s identification number (VIN) in violation of the provisions of RA 8189.

L.       Cancellation or causing the cancellation of a VIN in violation of the provisions of RA 8189.

M.    Refusal to issue the registered voter’s identification card.

N.     Failure to include the approved application form for registration of a qualified voter in the book of voters or the omission of the name of a registered voter in the certified list of voters resulting in his failure to cast his vote – Elements:
1.       The offender (i) fails to include the approved application form for registration of a qualified voter in the book of voters or (ii) omits the name of a duly registered voter in the certified list of voters of the precinct where he is duly registered.
2.       The failure or omission results into the voter’s failure to cast his vote during the election, plebiscite, referendum, initiative and/or recall.

O.     Failure to provide certified voters and deactivated voters list to candidates and heads or representatives of political parties upon request –Elements:
1.       The offender fails to provide certified voters and deactivated voters list to candidates and heads or representatives of political parties; and
2.       There was a written request for the certified voters and deactivated voters list submitted by the candidates and heads or representatives of political parties.

P.       Failure to post or give any of the notices or to make any of the reports required under RA 8189.
ü  Notice of alteration of precincts
ü  Notice of the application for and approval of transfer of registration
ü  Notice on the change of address in the same city or municipality
ü  Notice and hearing of application for registration
ü  Notice on disapproval of application
ü  Publication of action on application for registration
ü  Transmission of voter’s registration records to the provincial and national central files
ü  Posting in the bulletin board and furnishing of copies of the certified list of persons whose registration were deactivated to the local heads of political parties, the national central file, provincial file and the voter concerned
ü  Notice on reactivation of registration
ü  Posting in the bulletin board and furnishing of copies of the certified list of persons who died whose registration were cancelled to the local heads of political parties, the national central file, provincial file and the voter concerned
ü  Posting of the certified list of voters 90 days before a regular election and 60 days before a special election
ü  Notice of the place, date and time of the hearing of the petition for inclusion, exclusion and correction of names of voters
ü  Notice on annulment of book of voters
ü  Report of reconstitution of lost or destroyed registration records

Q.     Unlawful inclusion or exclusion of application for registration in the book of voters or in the certified files of registered voters – Elements:
1.       The offender is any person
2.       Who either:
a.       Places, inserts or otherwise includes as approved application for registration in the book of voters or in the provincial or national central files of registered voters, the application of any fictitious voter or any application that has not been approved, or
b.      Removes from, or otherwise takes out of the book of voters or in the provincial or national central files of registered voters any duly approved voter’s application, except upon unlawful order of the Commission, or of a competent court or after proper cancellation.

R.      Unlawful transfer of registration record of a voter to the book of voters of another polling place – Elements:
1.       The offender is any person
2.       Who transfers or causes the transfer of the registration record of a voter to the book of voters of another polling place, unless said transfer was due to a change of address of the voter and the voter was duly notified of his new polling place.

S.       Unreasonable transfer or change of the precinct assignment of a voter in the permanent list of voters – Elements:
1.       The offender is any person
2.       Who changes or transfers to another precinct the precinct assignment of a voter in the permanent list of voters without the express written consent of the voter, and
3.       It is done unreasonably.

T.       Taking or possessing of any blank or unused registration form issued to a city or municipality outside such city or municipality – Elements:
1.       The offender is any person
2.       Who takes, carries or possesses any blank or unused registration form issued to a city or municipality outside of said city or municipality except as otherwise provided in this Code or when directed by express order of the court or of the Commission, and
3.       The blank or unused registration form was already issued to a city or municipality.
III. Those committed on the day of the election
U.     Giving a  person’s voter’s identification card (VIC) to another – Elements:
1.       The offender delivers, hands over, entrusts or gives directly or indirectly his VIC to another
2.       In consideration of money or other benefit or promise.

V.      Taking such voter’s identification card in consideration of money or other benefit or promise – Elements:
1.       The offender gives or causes the giving of money or other benefit or makes or causes the making of a promise
2.       In consideration of the delivery, handing over, entrusting, and giving of another person’s VIC.

W.    Posting of a list of voters on the day of an election different in contents from the certified list of voters being used by the Board of Election Inspectors (BEI) – Elements:
1.       The offender posts a list of voters outside or at the door of a precinct on the day of an election, plebiscite, referendum, initiative and/or recall,
2.       The posted list is different in contents from the certified list of voters being used by the BEI.

X.      Tearing, altering, defacing removing or destroying any certified list of voters – Elements:
1.       The offender is any person
2.       Who alters in any manner, tears, defaces, removes or destroys any certified list of voters.

Y.       Malicious omission or alteration or transfer of the name of a registered voter from the official list of voters posted outside the polling place – Elements:
1.       The offender is any person
2.       Who omits, tampers or transfers to another list the name of a registered voter from the official list of voters posted outside the polling place, and
3.       It is done maliciously.

LEGAL NETWORK FOR TRUTHFUL ELECTIONS (LENTE)

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