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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Omnibus Election Code - Article XII

OMNIBUS ELECTION CODE
Article XII


REGISTRATION OF VOTERS

(Please see RA 8189 for registration updates
concerning the Continuing Registration System.)

Sec. 113. Permanent List of Voters. - Any provision of Presidential Decree No. 1896 to the contrary notwithstanding, the list of voters prepared and used in the election of Members of the Batasang Pambansa on May 14, 1984, with such additions, cancellations and corrections as may hereafter be made in accordance with the provisions of this Code, shall constitute the permanent list of voters in each city or municipality, as the case may be, until 1996.

      For purposes of the next following election, the Commission, through the election registrars, shall assign the proper precincts and polling places to the registered voters in said list. Written notice of any such change shall be made to the affected voters within two weeks therefrom.

Sec. 114. Renewal of the Permanent List. - The list of voters prepared in accordance with the preceding section shall be renewed in nineteen hundred and ninety-six and every twelve years thereafter.

Sec. 115. Necessity of Registration. - In order that a qualified elector may vote in any election, plebiscite or referendum, he must be registered in the permanent list of voters for the city or municipality in which he resides.

Sec. 116. Who may be registered in the list. - All persons having complied with the requisites herein prescribed for the registration of voters shall be registered in the list, provided they possess all the qualifications and none of the disqualifications of a voter. Those who failed to register in the election of 1984, for any reason whatsoever, may register in accordance with the provisions of this Code. Any person who may not have on the date of registration the age or period of residence required may also be registered upon proof that on the date of the election, plebiscite or referendum he shall have such qualifications.

Sec. 117. Qualifications of a voter. - Every citizen of the Philippines, not otherwise disqualified by law, eighteen years of age or over, who shall have resided in the Philippines for one year and in the city or municipality wherein he proposes to vote for at least six months immediately preceding the election, may be registered as a voter.

     Any person who transfers residence to another city, municipality or country solely by reason of his occupation; profession; employment in private or public service; educational activities; work in military or naval reservations; service in the army, navy or air force; the constabulary or national police force; or confinement or detention in government institutions in accordance with law, shall be deemed not to have lost his original residence.

Sec. 118. Disqualifications. - The following shall be disqualified from voting:

1.    Any person who has been sentenced by final judgment to suffer imprisonment for not less than one year, such disability not having been removed by plenary pardon or granted amnesty: Provided, however, That any person disqualified to vote under this paragraph shall automatically reacquire the right to vote upon expiration of five years after service of sentence.

2.    Any person who has been adjudged by final judgment by competent court or tribunal of having committed any crime involving disloyalty to the duly constituted government such as rebellion, sedition, violation of the anti-subversion and firearms laws, or any crime against national security, unless restored to his full civil and political rights in accordance with law: Provided, That he shall regain his right to vote automatically upon expiration of five years after service of sentence.

3.    Insane or incompetent persons as declared by competent authority.

Sec. 119. Preparation of the permanent list of voters. - For the preparation of the permanent list of voters in nineteen hundred and ninety-six and every twelve years thereafter, the board of election inspectors referred to in Article XIV hereof of each election precinct shall hold four meetings on the seventh Saturday, seventh Sunday, sixth Saturday and sixth Sunday preceding the date of the regular election to be held. At these meetings the board shall prepare eight copies of the list of voters of the precinct wherein it shall register the electors applying for registration.

Sec. 120. Preparation of the list before other regular elections. - For the preparation of the list before other regular elections, the board of election inspectors of each election precinct shall meet in the polling place on the seventh and sixth Saturdays before the day of the election. At these meetings, the board shall prepare and certify eight copies of the list of voters of the corresponding precinct transferring thereto the names of the voters appearing in the list used in the preceding election and including therein such new qualified voters as may apply for registration, as provided in Section 126 hereof.

Sec. 121. Preparation of the list before any special election, plebiscite or referendum. - For the preparation of the list of voters before a special election, plebiscite or referendum, the board of elections inspectors of each election precinct shall hold a meeting in the polling place on the second Saturday following the day of the proclamation calling such election. At this meeting the board shall transfer the names of the voters appearing in the list used in the preceding election and enter those of the newly registered voters.

Sec. 122. Transfer of names of voters from the permanent list to the current one. - The transfer of the names of the voters of the precinct already registered in the list used in the preceding election to the list to be made as provided for in the two preceding sections is a ministerial duty of the board, and any omission or error in copying shall be corrected motu proprio, or upon petition of the interested party, without delay and in no case beyond three days from the time such error is noticed; and if the board should refuse, the interested party may apply for such correction to the proper municipal or metropolitan trial court which shall decide the case without delay and in no case beyond three days from the date the petition is filed. The decision of the proper municipal or metropolitan trial court shall be final and unappealable in whatever form or manner.

      To facilitate the transfer of names of voters, the election registrar shall deliver the book of voters to the board of election inspectors on the day before the registration of voters, to be returned after the last day of registration.

Sec. 123. Cancellation and exclusion in the transfer of names. - In transferring the names of the voters of the precinct from the list used in the preceding election to the current list, the board shall exclude those who have applied for the cancellation of their registration, those who have died, those who did not vote in the immediately preceding two successive regular elections, those who have been excluded by court orders issued in accordance with the provisions of this Code, and those who have been disqualified, upon motion of any member of the board or of any elector or watcher, upon satisfactory proof to the board and upon summons to the voter in cases of disqualification. The motion shall be decided by the board without delay and in no case beyond three days from its filing. Should the board deny the motion, or fail to act thereon within the period herein fixed, the interested party may apply for such exclusion to the municipal or metropolitan trial court which shall decide the petition without delay and in no case beyond three days from the date the petition is filed. The decision of the court shall be final. The poll clerk shall keep a record of these exclusions and shall furnish three copies thereof to the election registrar who shall, in turn keep one copy and send the two other copies thereof to the provincial election supervisor and the Commission, to be attached by them to the permanent list under their custody.

Sec. 124. Meeting to close the list of voters. - The board of election inspectors shall also meet on the second Saturday immediately preceding the day of the regular election, or on the second day immediately preceding the day of the special election, plebiscite or referendum whether it be Sunday or a legal holiday, for the purpose of making such inclusions, exclusions, and corrections as may be or may have been ordered by the courts, stating opposite every name so corrected, added, or cancelled, the date of the order and the court which issued the same; and for the consecutive numbering of the voters of the election precinct.

     Should the board fail to include in the list of voters any person ordered by competent court to be so included, said person shall, upon presentation of a certified copy of the order of inclusion and upon proper identification, be allowed by the board to vote.

     Should the board fail to exclude from the list of voters any person ordered by the court to be so excluded, the board shall not permit said person to vote upon presentation to it by any interested party of a certified copy of the order of exclusion.

Sec. 125. Re-registration. - A voter who is registered in the permanent list of voters need not register anew for subsequent elections unless he transfer residence to another city or municipality, or his registration has been cancelled on the ground of disqualification and such disqualification has been lifted or removed. Likewise a voter whose registration has been cancelled due to failure to vote in the preceding regular election may register anew in the city or municipality where he is qualified to vote.

Sec. 126. Registration of voters. - On the seventh and sixth Saturdays before a regular election or on the second Saturday following the day of the proclamation calling for a new special election, plebiscite or referendum, any person desiring to be registered as a voter shall accomplish in triplicate before the board of election inspectors a voter's affidavit in which shall be stated the following data:

1.    Name, surname, middle name, maternal surname;

2.    Date and place of birth;

3.    Citizenship;

4.    Periods of residence in the Philippines and in the place of registration;

5.    Exact address with the name of the street and house number or in case there is none, a brief description of the locality and the place;

6.    A statement that the applicant has not been previously registered, otherwise he shall be required to attach a sworn application for cancellation of his previous registration; and

7.    Such other information or data which may be required by the Commission.

     The voter's affidavit shall also contain three specimens of the applicant's signature and clear and legible prints of his left and right hand thumbmarks and shall be sworn to and filed together with four copies of the latest identification photograph to be supplied by the applicant.

     The oath of the applicant shall include a statement that he does not have any of the disqualifications of a voter and that he has not been previously registered in the precinct or in any other precinct.

     Before the applicant accomplishes his voter's affidavit, the board of election inspectors shall appraise the applicant of the qualifications and disqualifications prescribed by law for a voter. It shall also see to it that the accomplished voter's affidavit contain all the data therein required and that the applicant's specimen signatures, the prints of his left and right hand thumbmarks and his photograph are properly affixed in each of the voter's affidavit.

Sec. 127. Illiterate or disabled applicants. - The voter's affidavit of an illiterate or physically disabled person may be prepared by any relative within the fourth civil degree of consanguinity of affinity or by any member of the board of election inspectors who shall prepare the affidavit in accordance with the data supplied by the applicant.

Sec. 128. Voter's identification. - The identification card issued to the voter shall serve and be considered as a document for the identification of each registered voter: Provided, however, That if the voter's identity is challenged on election day and he cannot present his voter identification card, his identity may be established by the specimen signatures, the photograph or the fingerprints in his voter's affidavit in the book of voters. No extra or duplicate copy of the voter identification card shall be prepared and issued except upon authority of the Commission.

     Each identification card shall bear the name and the address of the voter, his date of birth, sex, civil status, occupation, his photograph, thumbmark, the city or municipality and number of the polling place where he is registered, his signature, his voter serial number and the signature of the chairman of the board of election inspectors.

     Any voter previously registered under the provisions of Presidential Decree Numbered 1896 who desires to secure a voter identification card shall, on any registration day, provide four copies of his latest identification photograph to the board of election inspectors which upon receipt thereof shall affix one copy thereof to the voter's affidavit in the book of voters, one copy to the voter identification card to be issued to the voter and transmit through the election registrar, one copy each to the provincial election supervisor and the Commission to be respectively attached to the voter's affidavit in their respective custody.

Sec. 129. Action by the board of election inspectors. - Upon receipt of the voter's affidavit, the board of election inspectors shall examine the data therein. If it finds that the applicant possesses all the qualifications and none of the disqualifications of a voter, he shall be registered. Otherwise, he shall not be registered.

     The name and address of each registered voter shall, immediately upon his registration, be entered in the proper alphabetical group in the list after which the voter identification card shall be issued to the voter.

Sec. 130. Provincial central file of registered voters. - There shall be a provincial central file of registered voters containing the duplicate copies of all approved voter's affidavits in each city and municipality in the province which shall be under the custody and supervision of the provincial election supervisor. The applications shall be compiled alphabetically by precincts so as to make the file an exact replica of the book of voters in the possession of the election registrar.

     Should the book of voters in the custody of the election registrar be lost or destroyed at a time so close to the election day that there is no time to reconstitute the same, the corresponding book of voters in the provincial file shall be used during the voting.

Sec. 131. National central file of registered voters. - There shall also be a national central file of registered voters consisting of the triplicate copies of all approved voters' affidavits in all cities and municipalities which shall be prepared and kept in the central office of the Commission. The applications in the national central file shall be compiled alphabetically according to the surnames of the registered voters regardless of the place of registration.

Sec. 132. Preservation of voter's affidavits. - A copy of the affidavit of each voter shall be kept by the board of election inspectors until after the election when it shall deliver the same to the election registrar together with the copies of the list of voters and other election papers for use in the next election. The election registrar shall compile the voter's affidavits by precinct alphabetically in a book of voters. The other two copies shall be sent by the board of election inspectors on the day following the date of the affidavit to the office of the provincial election supervisor and the Commission in Manila. The provincial election supervisor and the Commission shall respectively file and preserve the voter's affidavits by city and municipality and in alphabetical order of their surnames. The fourth copy shall be given to the voter as evidence of his registration.

Sec. 133. Columns in the list of voters. - The list of voters shall be arranged in columns as follows: In the first column there shall be entered, at the time of closing of the list before the election, a number opposite the name of each voter registered, beginning with number one and continuing in consecutive order until the end of the list. In the second column, the surnames of the registered voters shall be written in alphabetical order followed by their respective first names, without abbreviations of any kind. In the third column, the respective residences of such persons with the name of the street and number, or, in case there be none, a brief description of the locality or place. In the fourth column, shall be entered the periods of residence in the Philippines and in the city or municipality. In the fifth column, there shall be entered on the day of the election the numbers of the ballots which were given successively to each voter. In the sixth column, the voter shall stamp on the day of the election the mark of the thumb of his right hand and under said mark his signature. And in the seventh column, the signature of the chairman of the board of election inspectors who has handed the ballot to the voter. It will be sufficient that the fifth, sixth, and seventh columns shall be filled in the copy of the list under the custody of the board of election inspectors which shall see to it that the thumbmark is stamped plainly.

Sec. 134. Certificate of the board of election inspectors in the list of voters. - Upon the adjournment of each meeting for the registration of voters, the board of election inspectors shall close each alphabetical group of surnames of voters by writing the dates on the next line in blank, which shall be forthwith signed by each member, and, before adding a new name on the same page at the next meeting, it shall write the following: "Added at the _ _ _ meeting" specifying if it is the second third or fourth meeting of the board, as the case may be. If the meeting adjourned is the last one for the registration of voters, the board shall, besides closing each alphabetical group of voters as above provided, add at the end of the list a certificate (a) of the corrections and cancellations made in the permanent list, specifying them, or that there has been none, and (b) of the total number of voters registered in the precinct.

Sec. 135. Publication of the list. - At the first hour of the working day following the last day of registration of voters, the poll clerk shall deliver to the election registrar a copy of the list certified to by the board of election inspectors as provided in the preceding section; another copy, also certified, shall be sent to the provincial election supervisor of the province, and another, likewise certified, shall be sent to the Commission, in whose offices said copies shall be open to public inspection during regular office hours. On the same day and hour, the poll clerk shall also post a copy of the list in the polling place in a secure place on the door or near the same at a height of a meter and a half, where it may be conveniently consulted by the interested parties. The chairman, poll clerk and the two members of the board of election inspectors shall each keep a copy of the list which may be inspected by the public in their residence or office during regular office hours. Immediately after the meeting for the closing of the list, the poll clerk shall also send a notice to the election registrar, provincial election supervisor and the Commission regarding the changes and the numbering above referred to, to be attached to the copy of the list under their custody.

Sec. 136. Challenge of right to register. - Any person applying for registration may be challenged before the board of election inspectors on any registration day be any member, voter, candidate, or watcher. The board shall then examine the challenged person and shall receive such other evidence as it may deem pertinent, after which it shall decide whether the elector shall be included in or excluded from the list as may be proper. All challenges shall be heard and decided without delay, and in no case beyond three days from the date the challenge was made.

     After the question has been decided, the board of election inspectors shall give to each party a brief certified statement setting forth the challenge and the decision thereon.

Sec. 137. Power of the board of election inspectors to administer oaths and issue summons. - For the purpose of determining the right of applicants to be registered as voters in the list, the board of election inspectors shall have the same power to administer oaths, to issue subpoena and subpoena duces tecum and to compel witnesses to appear and testify, but the latter's fees and expenses incident to the process shall be paid in advance by the party in whose behalf the summons is issued.

Sec. 138. Jurisdiction in inclusion and exclusion cases. - The municipal and metropolitan trial courts shall have original and exclusive jurisdiction over all matters of inclusion and exclusion of voters from the list in their respective municipalities or cities. Decisions of the municipal or metropolitan trial courts may be appealed directly by the aggrieved party to the proper regional trial court within five days from receipt of notice thereof, otherwise said decision of the municipal or metropolitan trial court shall become final and executory after said period. The regional trial court shall decide the appeal within ten days from the time the appeal was received and its decision shall be immediately final and executory. No motion for reconsideration shall be entertained by the courts.

Sec. 139. Petition for inclusion of voters in the list. - Any person whose application for registration has been disapproved by the board of election inspectors or whose name has been stricken out from the list may apply, within twenty days after the last registration day, to the proper municipal or metropolitan trial court, for an order directing the board of election inspectors to include or reinstate his name in the list, together with the certificate of the board of election inspectors regarding his case and proof of service of notice of his petition upon a member of the board of election inspectors with indication of the time, place, and court before which the petition is to be heard.

Sec. 140. Voters excluded through inadvertence or registered with an erroneous or misspelled name. - Any voter registered in the permanent list who has not been included in the list prepared for the election or who has been included therein with a wrong or misspelled name shall have the right to file an application on any date with the proper municipal or metropolitan trial court, for an order directing that his name be reinstated in the list or that he be registered with his correct name. He shall attach to such application a certified copy of the entry of his name in the list of the preceding election, together with proof that he has applied without success to the board of election inspectors and that he has served notice thereof upon a member of the board.

Sec. 141. Change of name of registered voter. - Any previously registered voter whose name has been changed by reason of marriage or by virtue of a court order may request the board of election inspectors during any of its meetings held under this Article that his registration in the list be recorded under his or her new name.

Sec. 142. Petition for exclusion of voters from the list. - Any registered voter in a city or municipality may apply at any time except during the period beginning with the twenty-first day after the last registration day of any election up to and including election day with the proper municipal or metropolitan trial court, for the exclusion of a voter from the list, giving the name and residence of the latter, the precinct in which he is registered, and the grounds for the challenge. The petition shall be sworn to and accompanied by proof of notice to the board of election inspectors concerned, if the same is duly constituted, and to the challenged voters.

Sec. 143. Common rules governing judicial proceedings in the matter of inclusion, exclusion, and correction of names of voters. -
1.    Outside of regular office hours no petition for inclusion, exclusion, or correction of names of voters shall be received.

2.    Notices to the members of the board of election inspectors and to challenged voters shall state the place, day and hour in which such petition shall be heard, and such notice may be made by sending a copy thereof by registered mail or by personal delivery or by leaving it in the possession of a person of sufficient discretion in the residence of the said person or, in the event that the foregoing procedure is not practicable, by posting a copy in a conspicuous place in the city hall or municipal building and in two other conspicuous places within the city or municipality, at least ten days prior to the day set for the hearing. 

      In the interest of justice and to afford the challenged voter every opportunity to contest the petition for exclusion, the court concerned may, when the challenged voter fails to appear in the first day set for the hearing, order that notice be effected in such manner and within such period of time as it may decide, which time shall in no case be more than ten days from the day the respondent is first found in default.

3.    Each petition shall refer to only one precinct.

4.    No costs shall be assessed in these proceedings. However, if the court should be satisfied that the application has been filed for the sole purpose of molesting the adverse party and causing him to incur expenses, it may condemn the culpable party to pay the costs and incidental expenses.

5.    Any candidate who may be affected by the proceedings may intervene and present his evidence.

6.    The decision shall be based on the evidence presented. If the question is whether or not the voter is real or fictitious, his non-appearance on the day set for hearing shall be prima facie evidence that the registered voter is fictitious. In no case shall a decision be rendered upon a stipulation of facts.

7.    These applications shall be heard and decided without delay. The decision shall be rendered within six hours after the hearing and within ten days from the date of its filing in court. Cases appealed to the regional trial court shall be decided within ten days from receipt of the appeal in the office of the clerk of court. In any case, the court shall decide these petitions not later than the day before the election and the decision rendered thereon shall be immediately final and executory, notwithstanding the provisions of Section 138 on the finality of decisions.

Sec. 144. Canvass to check registration. - The election registrar shall, once every two years or more often should the Commission deem it necessary in order to preserve the integrity of the permanent lists of voters, conduct verification by mail or house-to-house canvass, or both, of the registered voters of any barangay for purposes of exclusion proceedings.

Sec. 145. Annulment of permanent lists of voters. - Any book of voters not prepared in accordance with the provisions of this Code or the preparation of which has been effected with fraud, bribery, forgery, impersonation, intimidation, force, or any other similar irregularity or which list is statistically improbable may, upon verified petition of any voter or election registrar, or duly registered political party, and after notice and hearing, be annulled by the Commission: Provided, That no order, ruling or decision annulling a book of voters shall be executed within sixty days before an election.

Sec. 146. Reconstitution of lost or destroyed registration records. - The Commission shall reconstitute all registration records which have been lost or destroyed. For this purpose, it shall be the duty of the election registrar to immediately report to the Commission any case of loss or destruction of approved applications for registration in their custody. Such reconstitution shall be made with the use of the corresponding copies in the national or provincial central files of registered voters: Provided, That if this is not feasible, the registered voter concerned may be summoned by the election registrar to effect such reconstitution by accomplishing a new application. Reconstituted forms shall be clearly marked with the word "reconstituted".

     The reconstitution of any lost or destroyed application for registration shall not affect the criminal liability of any person or persons who may be responsible for such loss or destruction.

Sec. 147. Examination of registration records. - All registration records in the possession of the city or municipal election registrar, the provincial election supervisor, and the Commission shall, during regular office hours, be open to examination by the public with legitimate inquiries for purposes of election.

     Law enforcement agencies shall, upon prior authorization by the Commission, have access to said registration records should the same be necessary to, or in aid of, their investigative functions and duties, subject to regulations promulgated by the Commission.

Sec. 148. List of voters. - Fifteen days before the date of the regular election or special election, referendum or plebiscite, the board of election inspectors must post the final list of voters in each precinct with each and every page thereof duly signed or subscribed and sworn to by the members of the board of election inspectors and that failure to comply with this provision will constitute an election offense.

     Any candidate or authorized representative of an accredited political party, upon formal request made to an election registrar, shall be entitled to a certified copy of the most recent list of voters in any precinct, municipality, city or province, upon payment of a reasonable fee as may be prescribed by the Commission.

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