It would cost nearly a billion pesos to nullify the entire list of voters in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and replace it with a new one, the chair of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said. The expense, however, was necessary to end decades of electoral fraud in the region, said Comelec Chief Sixto Brillantes, a former election lawyer. Brillantes said it would cost P450 million if Comelec proceeded with regular registration of voters in the ARMM and at least P850 million if Comelec did away with the old registration process and instead nullified the region’s voters’ list and put in place a registration system using modern technology. He said, however, that trashing the existing voters’ list was a necessary first step toward electoral reform in the ARMM. Comelec, he said, would use a process of registration using biometrics, or technology that would keep track of voter identity through fingerprints or other unalterable marks.
Past elections in the ARMM have been replete with reports of so-called flying voters being employed for massive fraud by politicians who have amassed enough stolen wealth to finance election cheating.
This was used allegedly in 2004 to ensure the victory of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo when she ran for a regular six-year term after taking over deposed ruler Joseph Estrada, who was convicted of plunder but pardoned by Arroyo before he could start serving his life sentence. It was also in the ARMM where the then Arroyo administration obtained a 12-0 sweep by its senatorial candidates in the 2007 elections with many candidates from the opposition receiving zero votes.
Full Article: Cost of electoral reform in ARMM: P850M | Inquirer News.