Comelec: Sandiganbayan to decide whether to allow or not former President Arroyo to register as voter in her hometown

By , on June 17, 2014

Former president, now Pampanga Representative, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Photo courtesy of GMA Facebook page.
Former president, now Pampanga Representative, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Photo courtesy of GMA Facebook page.

MANILA — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) said the Sandiganbayan would decide if they would allow or not former president and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to register as a voter in her hometown.

Comelec Spokesperson James Jimenez said that the former Chief Executive may register in a local poll body office in Lubao, Pampanga since they cannot allow her to register under their detainee satellite registration.

“It is unlikely because while we do satellite registration, we have a set of guidelines to follow. It has a minimum number of people… The detention centers we go to, many (registration applicants) are there,” he said in an interview.

Comelec Resolution 9853 requires at least 200 prospective applicants to hold a satellite registration.

“The most basic criteria in satellite registration is we don’t do it for one person only. Secondly, even if you were to consider detainee prisoner, even the detainee prisoners registering are many in one particular site,” Jimenez explained.

It was reported that Arroyo had received notification from the Comelec that her name has been deactivated as a registered voter for failing to vote in her province in the 2013 midterm and barangay polls.

The lawmaker had asked the Sandiganbayan First Division to allow her to register in the local poll body office in the said province.

Arroyo has been under hospital arrest at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) in Quezon City since December 2011.

On the other hand, Jimenez noted that the former president is not prohibited from filing a request with the Comelec for her to be allowed to register in Quezon City, instead of Pampanga.

“They can file the request. If they have plans to do something like that, they should just go ahead and do it. Then, we will decide,” he said.

Jimenez added that being a registered voter in the district in which he/she shall be elected is one of the main requirements in running as a member of the House of Representatives under the 1987 Constitution.

“You need to be a registered voter in order to be able to run for public office. It is a very basic requirement,” he said,

Arroyo will be seeking her final term as member of the lower house if she decides to join the May 2016 national and local polls.