Close to 200,000 registered voters participate in overseas absentee voting – Comelec

By , on April 27, 2016

A sample of a ballot for 2016 Philippine election (Twitter photo).
A sample of a ballot for 2016 Philippine election (Twitter photo).

MANILA – Close to 200,000 registered voters or almost 14 percent have participated in the Overseas Absentee Voting (OAV) since the polls started two weeks ago.

According to the Commission on Elections-Office for Overseas Voting (Comelec-OFOV), a total of 191,427 Filipinos abroad representing 13.9 percent have cast their votes in the OAV. There are a total of 1,376,067 registered overseas voters.

“This surpasses the 13.4 percent turnout in 2010, and the 7.12 percent turnout in 2013 for the first 18 days of voting,” said Comelec – OFOV head Commissioner Arthur Lim.

With this, the poll body is optimistic that the number will double and reach about 400,000 by the end of voting period on May 9.

On the other hand, Lim reported that majority of the reported incidents to the Board of Election Inspectors (BEIs) in posts abroad are taking “selfies” by voters.

The reports were recorded from Dubai, Hong Kong, Vientiane, Madrid, and Singapore.

“In the interest of transparency, majority of the reported incidents are voters taking selfies with their ballots,” said Lim.

He reminded that taking “selfies” are prohibited and stated in the General Instructions for BEIs.

“We will have it investigated by our Law Department to determine whether there is probable cause, and to determine whether we have jurisdiction over it,” Lim added.

He noted that there were only two incidents of discrepancies in the actual votes and those printed in voting receipts.

“There were only two incidents of the voter receipts not reflecting the votes out of the 191,427 ballots cast… in Seoul and Dubai,” Lim said.

There have been claims made over the social media on alleged discrepancies in the voting receipts, wherein the vote of a voter for a particular candidate was counted for another bet.

The Comelec had already asked those making claims of discrepancies to substantiate their claims by filing formal petitions.

In a related development, vice presidential aspirant Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. revealed on Wednesday that another incident was reported to them this time in California, USA which involved the tearing of a vote receipt after a voter reported a discrepancy on the receipt.

“May isang case sa California, kung saan nung sinabi nung voter sa BEIs na may reklamo siya sa resibo, ay pinagalitan tapos pinunit yung resibo tapos pinaalis daw sya sa polling center,” he said in an interview.

The lawmaker noted that they are collating information and documents from the complainants after which they will submit it before the Comelec for their immediate action.

“Inaalam namin, magbigay sila (ng) impormasyon kung sino sila, saan nangyari, affidavit nila at ito ay ibibigay natin sa Comelec,” he said.

Marcos added that what worries him is that all the reported incidents only involves him as the votes for him are given to other candidates.

“The worrisome part is that ako lang ang nawawalan ng boto hindi pa nangyari na nawala ang boto ng ibang tao at napunta sa akin. Lahat ng report ay nawawalan ako ng boto napupunta sa ibang kandidato kaya’t you will not be surprised na nababahala ako,” he explained.

It was Marcos who reported the alleged discrepancies after receiving reports from Filipinos in Dubai, Kuwait and Japan.