Migrante Partylist today criticized the Commission on Elections for apparently preparing the recipe for an imminent failure of the overseas absentee voting (OAV).
Migrante Partylist made the statement after the Comelec revealed that there may not be enough ballots for overseas absentee voters for the 2013 midterm elections.
Connie Bragas-Regalado, Migrante Partylist first nominee, said, “Then Comelec added insult to injury when it said that it does not expect any problems despite the shortage because they are projecting that not all registered OAVs will cast their votes. As early as now the Comelec is preparing the recipe for failure of the OAV and massive disenfranchisement of our OFWs.”
After widespread protest from overseas absentee voters worldwide, the Comelec recently reinstated 238,557 OAVs that it delisted earlier. However, in its latest resolution, the Comelec has decided to just print an additional 20 percent of ballots allocated for the total number of registered OAVs which is expected to reach at least 900,000 for the 2013 midterm elections.
“By doing so, the Comelec is discouraging our OFWs from exercising their right to cast their votes. How can they say that they don’t see any problem with the shortage in ballots? They are practically saying that massive disenfranchisement of OAVs is fine and acceptable,” Bragas-Regalado said.
Comelec shortchanging OAVs?
Bragas-Regalado said that apart from the shortage in ballots, the Comelec also has to release clear guidelines for OAVs situated in countries where consulates and embassies closed down.
Last year, at least 10 consulates and embassies closed down as a result of the Aquino government’s “austerity measures”. Migrante Partylist had earlier pointed out that the closures will greatly affect the OAV because consulates and embassies serve as “voting precincts” for Filipino voters abroad.
“Is the non-printing of enough ballots for the OAV also a part of the government’s austerity measures? This is unfair and an outrage for our OFWs. Pati ba naman karapatan nilang bumoto ay tinitipid ng gobyerno?”
“We call on OFWs worldwide to protest anew this latest insult by the Comelec. Just as we did with the delisting of OAVs, let us once again make our voices heard by demanding that the Comelec print the exact number of ballots for the total number of OAVs. The Comelec should respect our right to vote. It should do everything to ensure that ALL OAVs be given the chance to cast their ballots,” Bragas-Regalado said. ###