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Around 300 persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) in the Old Bilibid, otherwise known as Manila City Jail, exercised their right to vote Monday in the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE), the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said in a report by Philippine News Agency.

The PDLs voted in the special polling precinct within the jail in Sta Cruz, Manila.

"The right to vote is everyone's inherent right under the Constitution. As the DILG actively assists the Comelec (Commission on Elections) in ensuring peace and order during the 2023 BKSE, we are elated to confirm that more than 31,000 PDLs will be able to exercise their right to vote," DILG Secretary Benjamin "Benhur" Abalos Jr. said.

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"The turnout of more registered PDL voters for the BSKE is in itself historic. This underscores the commitment of the DILG and the BJMP (Bureau of Jail Management and Penology) to uphold democracy and inclusivity in the electoral process," he added.

In August last year, the Supreme Court lifted the restraining order that prevented the Commission on Elections from implementing its Resolution 9371 on PDLs who are entitled to vote, including those confined in jail who are formally charged for any crime/s, and awaiting/undergoing trial; or those serving a sentence of imprisonment for less than one year.

Also covered are those whose conviction of a crime involving disloyalty to the duly constituted government, such as rebellion, sedition, violation of the firearms laws, or any crime against national security or for any other crime, is on appeal.

The Constitution provides that Filipinos “who are at least 18 years of age, and who shall have resided in the Philippines for at least one year and in the place wherein they propose to vote for at least six months immediately preceding the election,” have the right to vote.

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The Omnibus Election Code prohibits from voting those sentenced with “final judgment” to be imprisoned for not less than a year; those who lost or renounced their citizenship and those found to be insane or incompetent as declared by competent authority.


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