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As Comelec ignores calls to extend voter reg

Youth solon to question legality of shortened voter registration before High Court

Press Release
By Kabataan Party-list
October 28, 2009

QUEZON CITY  –  As youths and fans from around the world endure long lines today to watch Michael Jackson’s final movie, “This Is It,” so are first-time-voters and new registrants in the Philippines as the deadline of voter registration nears this November 1.

Deadline was originally shortened and set to fall on October 31 but the Commission on Elections (Comelec) recently extended the deadline to November 1 as complaints of terribly long lines and queues continue to hound the agency.

“Still, this is not enough. A one-day extension would not make much of a difference as long as numerous factors hinder our youth and first-time-voters from registering,” Palatino said.

Palatino said that he would lead first-time voters and youth groups in filing a Petition for Certiorari and Mandamus with Application for Preliminary Mandatoy Injuction on Friday, October 30, before the Supreme Court.

“This is it. After the Comelec stubbornly ignored our appeals and valid complaints, we are left with no choice but to take them to task,” he said.

The Petition, he said, will question the legality of the Comelec’s shortening of the period for continuing registration.

Under RA 8189, or the “Voter’s Registration Act of 1996,” the pertinent provision on the period of registration states (Sec. 8 System of Continuing Registration of voters), “No registration shall…be conducted during the period starting one hundred twenty (120) days before a regular election and ninety (90) days before a special election.”

“The Comelec, therefore, in its issuances, and despite appeals by several sectors to extend voter registration, has shortened the period CONTRARY TO what is mandated by law,” Palatino said.

He also added that calls to extend voter registration are more reasonable, practical and justifiable in light of the recent onslaught of typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng, as well as the limited number of biometric machines and unavailability of Comelec satellite registration sites, among others.

Palatino earlier filed House Resolutions 1162, directing the Comelec to return the deadline for voter registration to its original deadline of December 2009; HR 1443, calling to extend voter registration for those affected by typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng; and, HR 1336, calling for a one-day leave with pay for employees’ voter registration.