Comelec extends reactivation of overseas absentee voters’ registration

Mayen Jaymalin - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has extended the period for the reactivation of registration of overseas absentee voters (OAVs) to allow more Filipinos abroad to participate in the May 2016 elections.

In a resolution, the Comelec ordered that the period of reactivation of registration records of OFWs be extended until Dec. 9.

“There is a consistent clamor not to deactivate the registration records of overseas voters, who failed to vote in two consecutive elections due to several circumstances beyond their control and their unique status as overseas voters, which prevent them from participating in our electoral processes,” the Comelec said.

The period of reactivation of registration records was supposed to end on Oct. 31.

The Comelec previously deactivated the registration of 163,019 registered OAVs due to their failure to vote in the 2010 and 2013 elections.

Republic Act 10590 mandates the deactivation of registration records of OAVs who failed to vote in two consecutive elections.

The Comelec said that apart from failure to vote, those whose records have been deactivated due to other reasons are also allowed to reactivate their registration data, provided that they submit the necessary documents to support their applications.

The poll body said those excluded after being sentenced to be imprisoned for not less than one year shall be required to bring a copy of plenary pardon, amnesty or certification from the court that five years has lapsed from service of sentence.

Those declared insane or incompetent by authorities in the Philippines must submit a declaration of proper authority that the person is no longer insane or incompetent.

Filipinos abroad may file applications for reactivation personally, by mail at the overseas Philippine posts or at the Office for Overseas Voting or through e-mail or fax.

Still uncertain

 Meanwhile, the Comelec is still uncertain if it will extend the registration of voters for the coming general elections.

Comelec spokesman James Jimenez yesterday said in his Twitter account that the poll body has yet to discuss the possibility.

Netizens have expressed concern that several voters may not be able to register because of the onset of Typhoon Lando which is expected to linger for several days.

Jimenez said the registration and validation of voters’ records is set to end on Oct. 31.

Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista earlier announced that the poll body will resume voter’s registration and biometrics campaign for the May 2016 polls after it was temporarily suspended to give way to the filing of certificates of candidacy (COCs) of those running for elective posts next year.

Starting Oct. 17, Comelec offices will be open daily for a 12-hour voter’s registration and biometrics record validation.

Biometrics data refer to the automated identification of a voter’s photograph, fingerprint and signature.

Bautista said satellite registration centers located in malls and other areas nationwide are also open to encourage more voters to register.

The Comelec also reminded the public that even if they were registered voters in past elections, without biometrics they would be unable to vote in the coming elections.

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