LAGUNA, Philippines — Excitement turned to disappointment as some Laguna citizens’ right to vote was denied on election day, May 9, due to unverified biometric data. (READ: Guide to the 2016 Philippine elections)
Voters in San Pablo City came to their polling precincts ahead of time to cast their votes only to be informed that they were not qualified voters. (READ: PHVote 101: How to vote on May 9)
A senior citizen, Filomena Javier, was not permitted to vote even though she showed her voter’s ID at the Del Remedio Elementary School. The Board of Election Inspectors (BEIs) at the precinct, where Javier was supposed to vote, told her that her name was on the master list but that she has no precinct number.
A similar problem was experienced by Arvin Chumacera, a missionary teacher who went to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to report what happened. Chumacera was surprised that he was not on the list even if he is an active voter.
“Yun na nga lang yung kayaman ko bilang isang Kristyano, nawala pa. Pobre ka na nga, tapos yung karapatan mo nawala pa. Paano pa mababago ang Pilipinas?” Chumacera added. (That is my only wealth as a Christian, but even that I lost. I am already poor and then I also lost my rights. How will the Philippines change?)
According to Chumacera, some complainants from Barangays Sta. Elena and San Cristobal also expressed the same sentiments to him, which is why he went to the Comelec to find out what happened.
Chumacera found out that he was not able to verify his biometrics in 2016 so his registration was deactivated.
“Ngayon ko lang nalaman, nakaboto pa ako last election. Hindi lang ako nakapagpa-validate, kasalanan ko rin yun, naging careless ako,” Chumacera admitted. (I only found out now although I was able to vote last election. I was not able to validate my voter’s information. It is my fault, I was careless.)
The Comelec officer who entertained his complaint advised him to validate his biometrics on the last week of July, or first week of August this year.
“Maging eye opener sana ito sa iba. Sayang yung adhikain na magkaroon ng pagbabago. Siguro ngahon, ipagdasal na lang natin na maging maayls ang halaan,” said Chumacera. (I hope this becomes an eye opener for others. The advocacy for change is wasted. Perhaps now, we can pray that the elections will be orderly.) – Rappler.com
Karla Sambajon is a Rappler Mover.
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