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Kabataan Partylist v.

COMELEC
G.R. No. 221318 | December 16, 2015
PERLAS-BERNABE, J.

Qualification is distinguished from registration. A law that merely regulates registration


does not necessarily add to the requirements exclusively listed in the 1987 Constitution.
Thus, a registration requirement that does not rises to the level of a literacy, property or
other substantive requirement cannot be struck down as unconstitutional.

FACTS

This case is a petition for certiorari and prohibition filed by herein petitioners Kabataan Party-List
assailing the constitutionality of Republic Act No. (RA) 10367, entitled An Act Providing for
Mandatory Biometrics Voter Registration, as well as respondent Commission on Elections
(COMELEC) Resolution Nos. 9721, 9863, and 10013, all related thereto.
President Benigno Aquino signed into law RA 10367 which essentially mandates
COMELEC to implement a mandatory biometrics system for new voters in order to
establish a clean, complete, permanent, and updated list of voters through the adoption of
biometric technology.
RA 10367 likewise directs registered voters whose biometrics have not been captured shall
submit themselves for validation. Those who fail to do so, on or before the last day of filing
of application for registration, shall be deactivated.
COMELEC thereafter issued the resolutions assailed herein which were the implementing
rules and regulations of RA 10367. Furthermore, COMELEC launched the NoBio-NoBoto
public information campaign.
Petitioners herein assail the law as unconstitutional on the following grounds, among
others:
1. Biometrics validation rises to the level of an additional, substantial qualification
where there is penalty of deactivation;
They submit that the statutory requirement of biometric validation is no
different from the unconstitutional requirement of literacy and property
because mere non-validation already absolutely curtails the exercise of the
right of suffrage through deactivation.
2. Biometrics deactivation is not the disqualification by law contemplated by the 1987
Constitution;

ISSUES AND HOLDING

1. Whether RA 10367 is unconstitutional for rising to the level of an additional substantial


qualification in violation of Art. V sec. 1. No.

The following are the qualifications enumerated in Art. V sec. 1:


1. Filipino citizen;
2. Not disqualified by law;
3. Resided in the Philippines for at least 1 year; and

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4. Resided in the place where he proposes to vote for at least 6 months
immediately preceding the election.
The second item more prominently reflects the franchised nature of the right of
suffrage. The State may therefore regulate said right by imposing statutory
disqualifications, with the restriction, however, that the same do not amount to, as per
the second sentence of the provision, a literacy, property or other substantive
requirement.
o The limitation is geared towards the elimination of irrelevant standards that are
purely based on socio- economic considerations that have no bearing on the
right of a citizen to intelligently cast his vote and to further the public good.
Distinction must be made between a substantive and a procedural requirement.
o For instance, the law cannot come in and say that those who should be allowed
to vote should have paid certain taxes. That would be a substantial requirement
in addition to what is provided for in the Constitution.
o But the law can step in as far as certain procedural requirements are concerned
like requiring registration, and also step in as far as these classifications are
concerned.
Qualification the possession of qualities, properties inherently or legally necessary to
make one eligible for a position or office, or to perform a public duty or function.
o The concept of a qualification, at least insofar as the discourse on suffrage is
concerned, should be distinguished from the concept of registration, which is
jurisprudentially regarded as only the means by which a persons qualifications
to vote is determined.
o Registration regulates the exercise of the right to suffrage. It is not a
qualification for such right.
Deactivation the removal of the registration record of the registered voter from the
corresponding precinct book of voters for failure to comply with the validation process.
Thus, although one is deemed to be a qualified elector, he must nonetheless still
comply with the registration procedure in order to vote.
Notably, the penalty of deactivation, as well as the requirement of validation, neutrally
applies to all voters. Thus, petitioners argument that the law creates artificial class of
voters is more imagined than real.
To reiterate, this requirement is not a qualification to the exercise of the right of
suffrage, but a mere aspect of the registration procedure
Thus, unless it is shown that a registration requirement rises to the level of a literacy,
property or other substantive requirement as contemplated by the Framers of the
Constitution that is, one which propagates a socio- economic standard which is bereft
of any rational basis to a persons ability to intelligently cast his vote and to further the
public good the same cannot be struck down as unconstitutional, as in this case.

WHEREFORE, petition DISMISSED.

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