Overseas absentee voters (OAVs) in Hong Kong expressed deep dismay over the use non-indelible or easily removable ink in the course of the overseas absentee voting which started worldwide on April 13.
The report was made by Eman Villanueva, 3rd nominee of Migrante Partylist, and confirmed by no less than Commission on Elections Chairman Sixto Brillantes who was in Hong Kong when the OAV started.
“OFW voters were shocked and dismayed to discover that the Comelec is not using indelible ink anymore. They felt betrayed and short-changed, especially when Comelec Chair Brillantes said that the change was due to austerity measures because there is not enough funds for the OAV,” said Connie Bragas-Regalado, Chairperson and 1st nominee of Migrante Partylist.
Bragas-Regalado said that the same reason was given by Brillantes when it was also discovered that the PCOS machines did not have security locks.
“We are outraged. Conduct and safety measures of the elections, especially the OAV process, were set precisely to prevent possible fraudulent acts and to secure the sanctity of our votes. We fear that such arbitrary changes will make the OAV vulnerable to fraud and endanger the very outcome of the OAV,” Bragas-Regalado said.
“We demand an explanation from the Comelec for this offensive anomaly. Why did the Comelec allow this? Ganito na ba umabot ang pangmamaliit ng Comelec sa boto ng mga kababayan natin sa ibang bansa?” she said.
She said that since registration period started, the Comelec has been projecting that not all registered OAVs will cast their votes. “By doing so, the Comelec is practically discouraging our overseas Filipinos from exercising their right to vote. They are saying, in so many words, that massive disenfranchisement of registered overseas voters is fine and acceptable.”
Bragas-Regalado called on OFWs to be vigilant as voting period for the OAV kicked off. She said that Migrante coordinators and pollwatchers worldwide are manning polling centers to guard OFW votes. ###