Solon says Comelec can still push through with the scheduled polls despite TRO on 'No Bio, No Boto' policy

December 8, 2015 7:41 am 

By Sammy F. Martin

MANILA, Dec. 7 (PNA) — Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez expressed confidence on Monday that the scheduled May 2016 elections will push through as scheduled despite the issuance of a temporary restraining order (TRO) by the Supreme Court (SC) on the Commission on Elections' (Comelec) “No Bio, No Boto” policy.

“I have complete faith and confidence on the ability of Comelec officials, especially on Chairman Andres Bautista, that this minor setback will not totally derail and affect their preparations on the holding of the elections next year,” Romualdez, a lawyer and president of the Philippine Constitution Association (Philconsa), said.

Romualdez, who heads the House Independent Bloc, was reacting to apprehensions made by some quarters that the decision of the SC to issue a TRO on the "No Bio, No Boto" policy could result to a postponement of the polls.

“We all know that no-el (no elections) is unacceptable and even unthinkable, so I am confident that the Comelec would eventually find ways on how to address this situation,” the veteran lawmaker pointed out.

Comelec Chair Bautista is just stating some of the possible scenarios that may arise as a result of the TRO, but we all know that they are all up to the task and that they are competent enough to find ways to hold the polls as scheduled,” he said.

Bautista was quoted as saying that the poll body isnow in limbo on what to do with the 2.4 million voters who failed to register using the biometric method following the issuance of the TRO by the SC.

The Comelec’s “No Bio, No Boto” policy is anchored on Republic Act No. 10367, or the Mandatory Biometrics Registration Law of 2013. This requires registered voters to submit their biometrics data to the Comelec before being allowed to vote.

The SC handed down the TRO following a petition by theKabataan Party-list group, which argued that the policy would disenfranchise more than three million voters who failed to register using the biometric system.

This developed as Romualdez also vowed to craft measures once he is elected in the Senate that would ensure stability and integrity in the country’s electoral processes and to avoid the repeat of similar situation in the future in which the Comelec is placed in a bind.

“Laws are supposed to be forward-looking and not reactive, it is therefore important that all possible repercussions and issues are considered before any measure is passed into a law, so that its legality and viability will not be subjected to scrutiny in the future” he stressed. (PNA)



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