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House bill filed on stiffer penalties against flying voters

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Voters
PHILSTAR/EDD GUMBAN

By Charmaine A. Tadalan, Reporter

A BILL imposing stiffer penalties on “flying voters” has been filed at the House of Representatives ahead of the midterm elections in 2019.

House Bill 8371, authored by Rep. Robert Ace S. Barbers of the second district of Surigao del Norte, proposes to sanction violators with a fine ranging from P100,000 to P1 million and imprisonment of 6 to 12 years.

The penalties will be imposed on individuals who provide false information on an application for voter’s registration as well as on registering anew without cancelling a previous registration.

“Flying voters, as they are locally known, are those who are registered in multiple precincts and are used by politicians to get more votes,” Mr. Barbers said in the explanatory note of the bill.

“In order to systematically stop this practice, higher and stiffer penalties must be imposed to institute this election reform,” he added.

The measure will introduce the provisions to section 264 of the Omnibus Election Code, which currently only penalizes violators of election offense with 1 to 6 years of imprisonment, disqualification and a fine of up to P10,000.

Further, Mr. Barbers also filed House Bill 8372, which will mandate applicants to register one year before a regular election instead of 120 days; and 6 months before a special election, instead of 90 days.

“These bills will give the COMELEC (Commission on Election) ample time to check the legitimacy of the voter’s information and to clean up the COMELEC’s voters list,” he said in a statement, Sunday.

“It’s about time we ensure the veracity and efficiency of our voting processes. And through these legislations, I hope honest and clean politics will soon prevail,” Mr. Barbers also said.