Over 65,000 PDLs may vote in barangay, SK polls – Comelec

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 5) — More than 65,000 registered voters among persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) in the country are allowed to cast their ballots in the upcoming barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) polls, according to the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

In a message to CNN Philippines on Tuesday, Comelec Chairman George Garcia said there are 65,276 PDL voters nationwide.

“Those who have not yet been given a final judgment of conviction, those cases that are currently being heard in the courts, they will be able to vote under our laws,” Garcia earlier said.

For the first time, PDLs will be allowed to vote during BSKE in accordance with a 2022 decision from the Supreme Court.

The high court dismissed a petition filed in 2015 seeking to stop detainees from participating in the 2016 elections pending clear guidelines. 

Garcia said the Bureau of Corrections will submit an operation plan containing the security protocols and distribution process of campaign materials to PDLs, especially for the country’s main penitentiary – the New Bilibid Prison, which has 936 registered voters.

Comelec previously explained that qualified PDLs may vote in areas where they are registered if they are detained there. If they need to vote elsewhere, a court’s approval is required.