CHR asks for Comelec guidelines on detained persons’ voting rights
The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has passed a resolution seeking for the guidelines of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on how prisoners may vote inside or near their places of detention beginning in the May 2010 national polls.
Resolution CHR (IV) No. 2009-131 was passed on October 28, and approved by the CHR en banc led by Chairperson Leila M. de Lima. Other commissioners are Cecillia Rachel Quisumbing, Ma. Victoria Cardona, Norberto dela Cruz, and Jose Manuel Mamauag. Maria Asuncion Mariano Maravilla is the en banc secretary.
Even before the CHR move, some jails such as those in Pasig City, have began enlisting their qualified detainees for the 2010 elections, under an advocacy funded by the British government.
In pushing for institutionally-placed Comelec rules on the issue, the CHR cited a Philippine constitutional provision that states, “suffrage may be exercised by all citizens of the Philippines not otherwise disqualified by law, who are at least eighteen (18) years of age.”
Those qualified must also be a Philippine resident for at least one year and of the place where he would vote for at least six months right before the elections.
The CHR resolution blamed government failure in providing “the necessary special facilities and procedures for voting” for detainees or prisoners who are qualified to vote.
”Such failure on the part of the government is tantamount to the denial of the right of suffrage of the prisoners, in violation of the Constitution,” the CHR resolution said.
The failure also violated international laws, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the resolution said.(PNA)