Proposed ID system free from constitutional issues

By Ben Rosario

The bicameral panel tasked to fine-tune the Senate and House of Representatives versions of the proposed Filipino Identification System has assured the constitutionality of the measure.

On a vote of 261 to 18, the Senate and the House of Representatives decide to extend martial law in Mindanao up to December 31, 2017 in a joint, special session at the Batasang Pambansa yesterday. Inset photo shows Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III (left) and House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez presiding over the session that lasted more than seven hours. (Jansen Romero, Alvin Kasiban) (Manila Bulletin File Photo)

Ako Bicol Party-list Rep. Alfredo Garbin, a member of the House contingent in the bicameral panel, said the consolidated version of the measure was approved Tuesday, with voting for ratification scheduled last night.

“We don’t see any problem with the constitutionality of the provisions in the bill,” Garbin said, saying that this the assurance of the panel.

He recalled that the national ID system that was implemented during the administration of former President Fidel V. Ramos was struck down by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional for containing budgetary provisions that did not pass Congress.

The bicameral panel agreed to adopt mostly the provisions in the Senate version but the Lower House provided the list of personal information to be that will have
to be given by the applicant.

Under the approved bill, the following information shall be provided by the holder of the identification card: full name; sex, date of birth, place of birth, blood type, address and biometric information that will include photograph and full set of fingerprints.

Marital status and mobile or other contact numbers are optional information.

Applicants will undergo an iris scan which can be a vital replacement in case the holder loses or fails to bring the ID to transact government business.

The House version consolidated 19 different bills , including those authored by Reps. Arnolfo Teves Jr. (PDP-Laban, Negros Oriental); Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
(PDP-Laban, Pampanga); Maximo Rodriguez (PDP-Lban, Cagayan de Oro City); Gary Alejano (Magdalo Partylist); Rozzano Rufino Biazon (PDP-Laban, Paranaque City); Sol Aragones (NPC,Laguna) and Garbin.

The Filipino Identification System mandates all Filipino citizens, whether residing in the Philippines or abroad, to register personal data to be included in the National Identification Database System upon reaching 18 years old.

A national ID shall be issued the citizen and this will serve as the principal identification in dealing with government agencies.

The bill imposes stiff penalties of imprisonment and fine against persons found guilty of using false information or for procuring a card through fraud and utilizes it in legitimate transactions.

Garbin said the Philippine Statistics Administration will take the lead in promulgating the rules and regulations of the measure. It will coordinate with the National Privacy Commission, Department of Information and Communications Technology and other relevant government agencies.

Garbin said budget for the implementation of the national ID system may reach billions of pesos but will be proposed by the PSA.