As Eleksyon 2022 draws nearer, the Commission of Elections (Comelec) expressed concern that some deceased individuals may still be included on the voters' list.
According to Sandra Aguinaldo’s special report on “24 Oras” on Monday, the Comelec warned that voters who passed away amid the COVID-19 pandemic were still on the list.
The Comelec said that some of these cases could be used to question the credibility of the elections.
“Na-foresee ko talaga na pagdating ng eleksyon day maraming kababayan natin na makikita pa rin nila ang mga pangalan ng mga kamag-anak nila sa listahan is because hindi na nakaka-keep pace yung ating delisting process,” Comelec Spokesperson James Jimenez said.
(I foresee that when election day comes, many of our citizens will still see the names of their relatives on the list because our delisting process is no longer able to keep up with the pace.)
“Other people might see the names of their relatives, and that can be used as an argument that the elections are rigged,” he added.
Jimenez explained that the names of the deceased are being removed from the voter’s list based on the records submitted by the local civil registrar.
“Ang delisting process kasi natin ay dumadaan tayo thru the civil registry. So, kung hindi tayo ma-inform ng civil registry tungkol sa mga pumanaw na, hindi rin natin natatanggal,” the spokesman said.
(Our delisting process goes through the civil registry. So, if the civil registry cannot inform us about those who have passed away, we cannot remove their names either.)
Meanwhile, election watchdog Legal Network for Truthful Elections (LENTE), urged election board members and the public to be vigilant on election day.
“Magalahang parte ng election day process natin ‘yung pag-veverify ng identity. So sana, ‘yung mga poll workers natin, yung ating mga electoral board members sa unang hakbang pa lamang ay maging strict na para maiwasan nga ang mga pangyayari na may mga taong nagpre-pretend na bumoto gamit ang pangalan ng ibang tao” Atty. Ann Caritos of LENTE pointed out.
(Identity verification is an important part of our election day process. So hopefully, our poll workers and our electoral board members will be strict in the first step to avoid incidents in which there are people who pretend to be other someone else and vote in their names.)
Caritos however noted that such circumstances were sometimes unintentional mistakes by electoral board member.
“Yung measure na ginagawa ng electoral board member natin minsan kasi nagkakamali na rin sa dami ng tao na bumoboto. Minsan kasi pirma na lang yan. Iyan, magandang tignan nila, bantayan nila baka may makaboto na ibang tao,” she said.
(The measures taken by our electoral board members, sometimes they make mistakes because of the number of people who vote. People just keep signing up. They must be watchful because someone might end up voting in someone else's name.)
“Yung ating mga board of election inspectors ay mayroon silang listahan na may litrato ng botante. So ibig sabihin, walang makakapag-pretend na sila yung yumao na,” she added.
(Our board of election inspectors has a list with a photo of the voter. So that means, no one can pretend that they are the deceased.)
However, Comelec and Lente said it would be helpful if the relatives of the deceased would take steps to remove their names from Comelec's list.
“Ang panawagan talaga natin ay kung may kamag-anak kayong pumanaw kunin ninyo yung proof ng kanilang pagkamatay. Pangkaraniwan ang hinihingi natin ay death certificate. Pangalawa, Kailangan mag-provide kayo ng proof of kinship. Kailangan mapatunayan ninyo na kamag-anak kayo ng pinapa-delist ninyo,” Jimenez stated.
(Our call is that if you have a relative who died, get proof of their death. Usually, we ask for a death certificate. Second, you must provide proof of kinship. You have to prove that you are a relative of the person you are delisting.)
“It’s never too late to inform the Comelec of the changes in the list of voters,” he added. — Mel Matthew Doctor/DVM, GMA News