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280,000 purged from ARMM voters' list

Some 280,000 illegitimate registrants have been removed from the voters' list in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), Commission on Elections (Comelec) records show. According to the Election and Barangays Affairs Department, the Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) has detected 250,773 multiple registrants while the biometrics system has spotted 29,394 underage registrants. Biometrics refers to the picture, fingerprint and electronic signature recorded by a computer during the voters’ registration period. The AFIS, on the other hand, is the database of the biometrics. The total number of registrants in ARMM went down 18 percent to 1.294 million from 1.574 million in 2011. Maguindanao has the highest number of illegitimate voters — 97,866 multiple registrants and 4,846 underage registrants — for a total of 102,712, or 19 percent of 543,034 newly registered voters. Lanao del Sur had 88,934 illegitimate voters with 71,312 multiple registrants and 17,622 underage voters. The illegitimate voters took up 20 percent of total 439, 363 registrants. Sulu saw 301,988 registrants in July, of which 20 percent or 59,844 are illegitimate: 57,576 multiple registrants and 2,268 underage. Basilan registered 153,984 residents, 18,295 or 12 percent of which were illegitimate. Multiple registrants numbered at 15,996 while underage voters at 2,299. Lastly, Tawi-Tawi had 135,925 total registrants, eight percent of which were illegitimate: 8,023 multiple registrants and 2,269 underage. The poll body held a 100 percent biometrics voters’ registration in ARMM last July, cutting down the number of registrants to 1.5 million from 1.7 million in the 2010 elections.   Comelec Commissioner Rene Sarmiento said they initially objected to the re-registration in the ARMM, but they conducted it following a resolution from Congress. “They justified the re-registration because of the voters’ list that has been polluted,” Sarmiento said. He said the purged illegitimate voters are spotted only by the biometrics and AFIS, and that this could increase once the Election Registration Board in the region sends its November report to the Comelec headquarters. Sarmiento remains hopeful that the mandatory registration bill passed by Senate last November would make it easier for Comelec to purge illegitimate voters nationwide. Senate Bill 1030, authored by Sen. Lito Lapid, requires all registered voters whose biometrics have not been captured to appear before election officers for biometric registration. The bill would apply to the 2016 elections. Comelec chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. had earlier said around 8 million – or 15 percent of the voters’ population – have no biometrics records nationwide. — KBK, GMA News