EVEN as it continues to encourage the public to get registered as voters, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Friday, January 27, 2023, warned those that are doing it more than once.

In a statement, Comelec Chairman George Garcia said those who will be found liable for being multiple registrants risk the possibility of facing election offense charges.

“We have the Automated Fingerprint Identification System, which can counter-check if an applicant has registered before or is a multiple registrant. We are armed with necessary systems and laws, and are ready to use these to prosecute anyone who would commit the violation,” said Garcia.

“Once we have determined this, we will remove their registration and also look at possible filing of election offense charges,” he added.

Under the Omnibus Election Code, it is prohibited for “any person who, being a registered voter, registers anew without filing an application for cancellation of his previous registration.”

Any person found guilty of any election offense may face imprisonment between one to six years, disqualification to hold public office, and removal of the right of suffrage.

Garcia said they are issuing the warning in time for the expected high number of applicants for voter registration ahead of the deadline on January 31.

“Unscrupulous registrants will try to exploit the opportunity. (But) the commission is up on its toes for eventualities of such nature,” said Garcia.

The voter registration period is set to end on January 31 with a deluge of applicants expected in registration sites in its final days.

Based on the latest Comelec data, 1,538,480 applications have been filed since voter registration resumed on December 12, 2022. (HDT/SunStar Philippines)