SC Extends Voters Registration until 1/09/10

Voters for the May 10, 2010 elections can register until January 9, 2010.

Finding the petition impressed with merit, the Supreme Court, by a unanimous vote, today granted the petition to extend the voters registration and declared null and void the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) Resolution No. 8585 insofar as it set the deadline of voter registration for the 2010 polls on October 31, 2009.

In a nine-page decision penned by Justice Conchita Carpio Morales, the Court also directed the COMELEC to proceed with dispatch in reopening the registration of voters and holding the same until January 9, 2010. It said its decision is immediately executory.

The Court said that it did not find any ground to hold that the mandate of continuing voter registration cannot be reasonably held within the period provided by RA 8189, The Voter’s Registration Act of 1996. It stressed that RA 6646 (The Electoral Reforms Law of 1987) and RA 8436 (An Act Authorizing the COMELEC to Use an Automated Election System in the May 11, 1998 National or Local Elections and in Subsequent National and Local Electoral Exercises, Providing Funds Therefor and for Other Purposes) grant the poll body the power to fix other periods and dates for pre-election activities “only if the same cannot be reasonably held within the period provided by law.” There is thus no occasion for the COMELEC to exercise its power to fix other dates or deadlines therefor, it added.

Citing sec. 8 of RA 8189, the Court held that Congress itself has determined that the period of 120 days before a regular election and 90 days before a special election is enough time for the COMELEC to make all the necessary preparations with respect to the coming elections. The preparations include (1) completion of project precincts, (2) constitution of the Board of Election Inspectors, (3) finalizing the Computerized Voters List, (4) supervision of the campaign period, and (5) preparation, bidding, printing, and distribution of Voter’s Information Sheet. The Court said that such determination of Congress is well within the ambit of its legislative power, which the High Court is bound to respect, and that the COMELEC’s rule-making power should be exercised in accordance with the prevailing law.

“The clear text of the law thus decrees that voters be allowed to register daily during regular offices hours, except during the period starting 120 days before a regular election and 90 days before a special election,” said the Court.

The petition before the High Court was filed by Raymond V. Palatino, a youth sectoral representative under the Kabataan Party-list, and other concerned citizens. (GR No. 189868, Palatino v. COMELEC, December 15, 2009)

The above article is culled from the Supreme Court website. Images are from www.kabataanpartylist.com All copyrighted materials above as used remain to be that of its owners and no trademark or copyright infringement or destructive exploitation is herewith intended in any form whatsoever other than use for discussion and academic purposes.
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