The Supreme Court (SC), in its special en banc session on Wednesday, has dismissed the petition filed by Kabataan party-list against Commission on Elections (COMELEC)’s “No Bio, No Boto” policy.
The high court had lifted the temporary restraining order it issued on the said policy last December 1.
The petitioners – Kabataan Party-list Representative Terry Ridon and President Marjohara Tucay, National Union of Students of the Philippines President Sarah Elago, Anakbayan Party-list Chairperson Vencer Crisostomo and Deputy Secretary-General Einstein Recedes, College Editors Guild of the Philippines National President Marc Lino Abila, League of Filipino Students Chairperson Charrisse Bañez, along with Arlene Clarisse Julve and Sining Marfori – had asked the declaration of the policy’s unconstitutionality on November 25. According to them, it would deprive millions of voters from exercising their right to suffrage due to “an additional substantive requirement.”
Ridon had previously stated in an interview with ANC that because of the “unconstituional requirement,” an estimate of “2.4 million” Filipinos will not be able to cast their votes in 2016 national and local elections.
“Contrary to petitioner’s argument, the policy passes the strict scrutiny test. Under this standard, the government interest must be compelling, not merely substantial, and there must be no other less restrictive means to achieve the interest. The objective of cleansing the national voter’s list so as to eliminate eletoral fraud and ensure that election results are reflective of the will of the electorate constitutes a compelling interest,” the ruling said, as stated in an online article published at Interaksyon.com
SC Spokesman Theodore Te said in a press conference that registering is only one step towards voting and it is not one of the elements that makes a citizen qualified voter.
“The regulation was narrowly tailored to achieve the compelling state interest of establishing a clean, complete, permanent and updated list of voters and was demonstrably trhe least restrictive means to promote the interest,” Te added.