MARCH 7, 2014

NR # 3398

Mechanisms allowing qualified detainees and prisoners to vote proposed
The total jail population in the country is 72,476 as of September 2012, and 69,143 of them are a aitin! preliminary in"esti!ation, trial or promul!ation of final jud!ement, and many of those sentenced continue to be on appeal# $%any persons lan!uishin! in prisons nation ide, ho are still not dis&ualified by la , are effecti"ely depri"ed of their ri!ht to "ote durin! elections,' (ep# (ene (elampa!os )1st *istrict, +ohol, laments# (elampa!os is author of -+ 3.17 hich see/s the establishment of mechanisms for &ualified "oters detained in jails to e0ercise their ri!ht of suffra!e, amendin! Section 111 of the 2mnibus 3lection 4ode or +atas 5ambansa +l!# ..1# The proposed $5ersons *epri"ed of 6iberty )5*6, 7otin! 8ct of 2014' ould ensure that 9ni"ersal Suffra!e, enshrined in the 4onstitution, is promoted and safe!uarded# 9ni"ersal suffra!e, the la ma/er e0plained, re&uires the participation of the broadest pool of "oters ensurin! that e"ery eli!ible "oter must be included# (easonable re&uirements are usually limited to minimum a!e, nationality and mental capacity# $9nli/e in 3n!land, 4anada, 8ustralia, -on!/on! and other leadin! democracies in the orld, 5*6s in the 5hilippines, not other ise dis&ualified by la , are effecti"ely curtailed from e0ercisin! their ri!ht to "ote ith the absence of a la ,' (elampa!os stressed# -e pointed out that the year 2010 mar/ed t o milestones in the country:s election history; first, the use of the automated election system nation ide< and second, the first en masse re!istration and "otin! of 5*6s# (elampa!os also noted that 5*6 "otin! as made possible by the concerted efforts of the 4ommission on 3lections, other !o"ernment a!encies as ell as ci"il society in"ol"ed in prison care# $=ith the issuance of 4omelec (esolution >o# ..10 on %arch 30, 2010, 5*6s ere allo ed to "ote for the first time# 5*6 "otin! as a!ain itnessed in the 2013 mid? term polls follo in! 4omelec (esolution >o# 9371 on %arch 6, 2012 introducin! impro"ements to the earlier issuance,' the author recalled# @urthermore, he noted that about 44,000 5*6s cast their "otes under the super"ision of the +ureau of Aail %ana!ement and 5enolo!y )+A%5, includin! 5*6s from the

>ational +ilibid 5risons under the +ureau of 4orrections )+u4or,# 2ne !larin! ine&uality in the e0ercise of suffra!e, he pointed out, is the fact that persons ho are accused of crimes but ho may be out on bail are able to "ote hile those ho are in detention for the same crime cannot# $This, in effect, imposes an additional economic re&uirement, li/e the inability to post bail by reason of po"erty, hich is clearly unconstitutional,' the author stressed# The follo in! mechanisms are bein! proposed; )a, establishment of re!ular precincts ithin the jail, prison or other detention facility premises< )b, allo in! the se!re!ation of the ballots of 5*6 "oters from their mother precincts and deli"ery of the same to the pollin! place in jail, prison or other detention facility for purposes of "otin!< )c, application of the local absentee "otin! to 5*6s ho are residents of another municipality, city or pro"ince< and )d, hen practicable, throu!h escorted "otin!# $*etention prisoners and those ser"in! their sentence of not more than one )1, year imprisonment are &ualified to re!ister and "ote, pro"ided that they possess all the other &ualifications re&uired by la and none of the dis&ualifications,' Section 4 of -+ 3.17 pro"ides# )30, dpt

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