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Sep 15th
Home Columns JGL Eye Filipino Overseas Voters Kept in the Dark
Filipino Overseas Voters Kept in the Dark PDF Print E-mail
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Columns - JGL Eye
Written by Joseph G. Lariosa   
Thursday, 04 March 2010 10:51




(© 2009 Journal Group Link International)


C HICAGO, Illinois (JGLi) –  Nobody is perfect. And that includes the Overseas Philippine Nationals (OPENs, according to an anagram coined by Los Angeles, California community activist Bobby M. Reyes of and an unpaid pro-Villlar ‘medialante’) and the Filipinos in their homeland.


In about two months, overseas Filipinos are going to choose a brand new president of the Philippines.


And along with the new president, they are also electing a new vice president, 12 senators and one party-list organization, which will be represented by a “mysterious” congressman. Their short ballots stop there.


To read more of Joseph Lariosa’s article on the “Overseas Philippine Nationals” (pronounced Open, as coined by Bobby Reyes), please go to Filipino Politicians Continue to Ignore the Overseas Filipinos


B ut for voters in the Philippines, who will be voting for the first time in a computerized election, they could bring with them longer sample ballots, that is, if they are allowed to copy their choice in their precinct booths.


The Filipino voters, aside from voting for the new president, vice president, 12 senators, a party-list organization, will be voting for new governors and vice governors of the provinces, congressmen in their respective districts, mayors and vice mayors, etc.




B ut for the OPENs (except those in Hongkong and Singapore who are voting electronically), they can now go over the official ballots mailed to them from the headquarters of the Philippine Commission on Elections (Comelec) in Manila and fill up their ballots and mail their ballots to their nearest “embassy, consulate or foreign service establishment concerned.”


But before they drop those ballots in their mailboxes, according to the “electoral mail” envelope I received in Chicago, Illinois, it has a caveat:


The absentee voters (who for some reasons cannot cast their ballots in the embassy, consulate or other foreign service establishment on or before 6 p.m. (Philippine time) on May 10, 2010 election day) have to 1) use only the officially prescribed envelopes from the Comelec; 2) have to affix their thumb marks in the ballot coupons; and 3) and must mail the envelopes post-marked received before 6:00 o’clock in the evening (Philippine time) on May 10, 2010.


In other words, in Chicago, which is observing Central Time and Daily Savings time (during that time), the ballots should be post-marked before 6 a.m. on May 9, 2010!


And the OPEN voters have to detach the ballot coupons from the ballots and place them inside the “Official Ballot Envelopes;” fold the ballots and seal them with the affixed paper seals; write their names and affix their signatures in the proper spaces provided in the official ballot envelopes and should drop them in the mails so that they will reach the embassy, consulate or foreign establishment on or before May 10, 2010 (Philippine time).




T here are 10 candidates for presidents and eight candidates for vice presidents and 61 candidates for senators and 187 party-list organizations.


Because cross voting is allowed for presidential and vice presidential candidates, unlike in the United States, which observes block voting, only six parties have a complete set of candidates for president and vice president.


The 187 party-list organizations have long names but short of visions and missions. But they compensated their shortcomings by using ridiculous and humorous names, acronyms and anagrams in sending their messages to the OPENs, who will be electing their representative to Congress.


For instance, there is party list group called Organization of Regional Advocates for Good Governance Onward Nation-Building, whose acronym is ORAGON, a play in a Bicol word pregnant with meanings; or Abante Bicol Oragon (ABO); or Action Brotherhood for Active Dreamers, Inc., whose acronym is ABROAD, but appears to have nothing to do with Overseas Filipinos or Overseas Philippine Nationals (OPENs);




A nd what about a group that seems to be advocates for prisoners, Advocates for Penology Enhancement and Legal Assistance (APELA), and a group helping farmers(?), Alliance for Rural and Agrarian Reconstruction, Inc. (ARARO), Alliance of National Urban Poor Organizations Assembly, Inc. (ANUPA), and the more appropriate initial of ANG PADER for Alliance of Nationalistic and Genuine Program for Agricultural Development Towards Economic Reform?


I was disappointed my old friend, lawyer Mel “Batas” Mauricio, of did not register his group as a party list.


There is also the Alyansa ng OFW Party but it is hard to tell if its officers and members were former OFW’s, the Pilipino Association for Country – Urban-Poor Youth Advancement and Welfare (PACYAW), which is a different party from Manny Pacquiao’s People’s Champ Movement; and the fans of President Barack Obama and former President Fidel Ramos, Yes We Can (Kaya Natin Ito) party?


But it’s hard to tell, whom the winning parties of the party list groups will be sending to Congress.


In 2007 congressional election, Bantay, an anti-communist political party, collected 169,869 votes and ranked 32nd among party-list groups, which was insufficient to allow it to send any representative to Congress under the formula used at the time.


But in April 2009, the Supreme Court expanded the list to 55, making Gen. Jovito Palparan, known as the “Butcher” for allegedly salvaging NPAs, NPA sympathizers and human-rights advocates, eligible as a new member of Congress.


Because a party-list group can nominate anybody in Congress, it will not be far fetched that Rep. Juan Miguel “Mikey” Arroyo, who will be leaving his district in favor of his mother, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, may not be staying away for long because he is being tapped to be a representative of some of the party list groups in the coming elections.


See, how power begets power when there is no transparency! ( # # #


© opyright 2009 The Journal Group Link International. The contents provided in the JGLi may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of the Journal Group Link International.


(Editor’s Note: Watch out for the upcoming outlet-oriented, subscription-based website of Journal Group Link International that guarantees originally sourced stories, features, photos, audios and videos and multi-media contents.)


Last Updated on Thursday, 04 March 2010 10:55

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