Saturday, January 23, 2010
43,000 flying voters ere discovered because of AFIS
Forty-three thousand double or multiple registrants have been discovered by the Commission on Elections in two regions in the country and the poll body is expecting the number to increase. Comelec Commissioner Rene Sarmiento said the double or multiple registrants were discovered by the Information and Technology Department in Regions 4A and in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). He said the multiple registrants were discovered because of the biometric system and the Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) being used by the Comelec. We have to thank the application of the biometrics because of the capture of the face, thumbprints, and signature, these were all stored and using the AFIS these were discovered,” said Sarmiento. He said the Comelec en banc has already authorized the ITD to remove from the official list of voters the double and multiple registrants. “This is without prejudice to the filing of appropriate election offenses charged against these double and multiple registrants,” Sarmiento said. Under the Omnibus Election Code, he said, the penalty for multiple registrations is one to six years imprisonment without probation and perpetual disqualification from holding public office. “The fact that they resorted to these double registration is by itself a violation of the OEC. So they can vote but without prejudice to the filing of appropriate charges the evidence warrants against them,” Sarmiento said. The poll official said Comelec is expecting the figure to increase in the coming days as the cleansing process continues. “This is ongoing. Now this will be implemented nationally, not only in the four regions. To think that in the four regions only we already have more than 43,000 so this means more will be discovered by the ITD,” said Sarmiento. Meanwhile, the Comelec and the Department of Education have signed an agreement assuring public school teachers who will serve in the May 2010 polls proper compensation and training for the country’s first ever nationwide automated elections. The agreement provides, among others, up to P200,000 in compensation in cases of election-related deaths or injuries of DepEd personnel. Public school teachers who will serve in the Board of Election Inspectors (BEI) are expected to get P4,300 for their services after the Comelec agreed to compensation demands by various teachers’ organizations that consider poll duty as extremely hazardous. “Our teachers need to be fully compensated as they perform central roles in this political exercise," Education Secretary Jesli Lapus said. The DepEd estimates a total of 280,000 personnel, or 50 percent of its total work force, to serve in the upcoming elections. Under the agreement, members of the Board of Election Inspectors including the chairman will get P3,000 each, plus P300 transportation allowance. Another P500 will be given for the inspection, verification, and sealing of book of voters and P500 more for the inspection, verification, and sealing of the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines. Likewise, team leaders (school heads, principals and education supervisors who are not members of the BEI) who will supervise certain precincts will receive P3,000. Janitors and messengers who will be assigned in certain precincts will get P1,500 while members of the board of canvassers in the municipal, city and provincial levels will get P5,000. The DepEd and Comelec also assured that the training of teachers for the operation of the PCOS machines will start in March. According to Comelec Chairman Jose Melo, all the machines are expected to be delivered before February 14. However, the poll body has to first conduct laboratory tests on the machines to ensure their proper operation. “Before the training starts, we have to assure that the machines have passed the lab tests. Smartmatic (the winning bidder for the poll automation contract) already conducted tests on the machines but we have to test it again,” Melo said. DepEd Undersecretary Franklin Sunga said the department will also set aside P30 million as part of the teacher compensation deal for election-related death or injuries that may be sustained by DepEd employees in the performance of their duties. Heirs of the deceased personnel shall receive P200,000. Meanwhile, the Comelec will take over from the city and municipal mayors operational supervision and control of Philippine National Police units from April 10 to June 9, 2010 as part of overall efforts to ensure peace and order during the elections. The Comelec has furnished all mayors with copies of its en banc Resolution No. 8731 providing for direct operational supervision by the poll body over PNP units through its Director General. Operational supervision and control, the power to direct, oversee and inspect the police units includes the power to employ and deploy units or elements of the PNP through the station commander.
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