MANILA, Philippines - To avoid disenfranchisement of overseas Filipinos this coming election, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) has decided to reinstate more than 230,000 Filipinos abroad in the voter’s lists.
Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes said that the agency reconsidered an earlier decision to drop these voters from the lists after meeting with their representatives recently.
“It won’t look good if they travel all the way to the posts only to be told that that their voter’s registration had been deactivated so we decided to reinstate them,” Brillantes said in an interview.
Earlier, the Comelec had deactivated the registration of 238,557 overseas absentee voters after they failed to vote in the 2007 and 2010 national elections.
In Comelec Resolution 9653, the poll body ordered the extension of the period for the filing of “manifestation of intent” to vote by overseas absentee voters up to the last day of voting, which is on May 13.
The voting period for Filipino voters abroad starts one month before May 13, election day in the Philippines.
Comelec commissioner and Commission on Overseas Absentee Voting chairman Lucenito Tagle gave assurance that there will be enough ballots for overseas Filipino should they decide to exercise their right to vote in May.
Tagle added that the Comelec has decided to print 20 percent of the ballots for the 238,557 de-listed voters.
“Based on our studies, not all of the registered voters vote. There are many who don’t so for this elections, we also don’t see all of them voting, even locally,” he said.
Tagle said that in the 2010 polls, only150,000 out of 580,000 registered voters abroad actually voted.
The Comelec had listed more than 700,000 overseas absentee voters at the time of the ballot printing early last month.