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Mar 28th
Home Sections Politics OFWs Get Mixed Rulings from the COMELEC
OFWs Get Mixed Rulings from the COMELEC PDF Print E-mail
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Sections - Politics
Written by Joseph G. Lariosa   
Friday, 15 January 2010 09:41



(© 2009 Journal Group Link International)


OFWs Get Mixed Rulings from the COMELEC as it Extends Overseas-Voters’ Registration; OFW’s Candidates Disqualified


C HICAGO, Illinois (JGLi) – Overseas Filipinos never get a break from the Philippine Commission on Elections (COMELEC).


While they got a sliver of hope from the COMELEC to extend their voting registration for another 28 days, their candidates were disqualified from representing them in the May 10 national elections in the Philippines.


The mixed ruling, according to a leader of OFWs, is a clear sign that they are “being discriminated against by the COMELEC.”


Filipino-American lawyer Loida Nicolas Lewis broke the favorable ruling of the COMELEC to Overseas Filipinos, saying that they have less-than a month to register in various embassies and consulates all over the world if they have not yet registered.


Mrs. Lewis, a dual citizen, said a COMELEC committee overseeing overseas voters gave due course on Jan. 14 (Manila time) to a petition of a US-based Filipino’s petition to extend the registration period for overseas Filipinos for 28 days until Feb. 14, 2010.


The decision of the COMELEC Committee on Overseas Absentee Voters, chaired by Com. Armando Velasco, is expected to be ratified by the COMELEC en banc at their commission meeting on Tuesday, January 19, 2010.


Bets of Democratic Party of the Philippines Disqualified


M eanwhile, Ernesto Ramos, a leader of the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) based in  Florida, announced Tuesday (Jan. 14) that the OFW’s Democratic Party of the Philippines (DPP) was disqualified by the COMELEC from taking part in the May 2010 Elections because it lacked the “capacity to launch a nationwide campaign.”


The Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are being discriminated against by the COMELEC. – Dr. Ernie Ramos, a disqualified presidential candidate in the Philippines


Dr. Ramos said the DPP, which is fielding a full slate of presidential, vice presidential and 12 senatorial candidates, is going to “file a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) before the Philippine Supreme Court.” He urged OFW candidate for Senator Rudy Dianalan and his lawyer to file the case.


Ernie Ramos is urging Filipinos to “flood the COMELEC with our urgent message (through emails and phone calls by going to the website of the COMELEC, to open up and not discriminate against the participation of OFWs” in running for national office in the May 2010 Elections.”


Mrs. Lewis, a former national chair of NaFFAA, described the favorable ruling by the COMELEC on the extension of voting registration overseas as “a major victory for Overseas Filipinos.”


The Filipino-American businesswoman, who is also the lead convenor of the U.S. Pinoys for Noynoy-Mar, added, “Let us not disenfranchise OFWs who keep the Philippine economy afloat with their remittances. They remain a vital part of this country.”


Mrs. Lewis accompanied Boston, Massachusetts, resident Maritess Salientes Bloom to the COMELEC office in Manila on Jan. 8 to file her petition, which was expedited when the COMELEC held a hearing of the petition on Jan. 14 because of its “transcendental importance.”


In her petition, Ms. Bloom said she was not able to register to vote by the August 31, 2009, deadline set by the COMELEC for overseas absentee voters and that she and other Overseas-Filipino residents like her should be given an extended opportunity to register to vote because the COMELEC’s overseas registration deadline was 28 days shorter than the deadline set by the Philippine Congress when it approved the Overseas Absentee Voting Act of 2003 (RA 9189).


“The deadline for the filing of applications of registration of overseas absentee voters should have been on 28 September 2009, not 31 August 2009,” Ms. Bloom’s petition declared.


Ms. Bloom, who was represented at the hearing by her attorneys, Jose Amor A. Amorado and Peter Manzano, asserted in her petition that the COMELEC resolution setting the deadline at August 31, 2009, “effectively deprived millions of the voting population twenty-eight (28) days of opportunity to register provided to them by the Overseas Absentee Voting Act of 2003, thereby actually amending the statute’s provision on the system of continuing registration of overseas absentee voters.”


The COMELEC committee’s decision, if affirmed by the COMELEC en banc next week, will extend the voters registration deadline for Overseas Filipinos later than the January 9, 2010, extension ordered by the Philippine Supreme Court on December 8, 2009, for voters in the Philippines.


The COMELEC’s favorable ruling on the extension of overseas-voters’ registration is a major victory for Overseas Filipinos. Let us not disenfranchise OFWs, who keep the Philippine economy afloat with their remittances. They remain a vital part of this country. – Loida Nicolas-Lewis of New York and Sorsogon City


M arlon L. Pecson, coordinator of the U.S. Pinoy Mar-Roxas in Chicago, Illinois, praised the COMELEC ruling as he urged that those who have not yet registered should now go to their corresponding consulates to register so they can vote in the May 10 Elections.

“Bawat Pilipino mahalaga. Bawat boto ay tungo sa pagbabago.” (Every Filipino is important. Every vote should count to achieve reform.)


At the same time, Mr. Pecson invited U.S. Pinoy for Noynoy-Mar Chicago chapter supporters to attend a meeting at Ravinia Ballroom E/F, Westin Hotel – Chicago Northshore, 601 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Wheeling Illinois (Tel. 847.777.6500) between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 23.


Mr. Pecson said supporters, who will attend the meeting, will also raise funds for the “Noynoy-Mar” ticket that will be attended by Atty. Loida Nicolas Lewis. The meeting was arranged by publishers-editors Yoly and Bart Tubalinal.


The money raised will be turned over to the Liberal Party campaign in areas in the Philippines where such resources are needed by the campaign.


Those who could not make it to the meeting, Pecson said, can visit US Pinoys for Noynoy-Mar website  ( for updates or for donating to the campaign.


Dr. Ramos said, the irony of it all is that – after registering DPP with the COMELEC as a national party last March 24, 2009 – we've chosen our DPP candidates who are the chairs/presidents of nationwide organizations that have already participated during the victorious 1992 FVR campaign and during the 2004 FPJ campaign. “


Accordingly, for COMELEC to decide that we in the DPP lack "the capacity to launch a nationwide campaign" is rather an aberration – and evokes a gross overreach of COMELEC's prerogative to constrict and confine democratic participation to only but a select few from traditional parties and political factions, he said.


“But then again the COMELEC's ‘Hello Garci’  revelation in 2004 was also an aberration!  Hence, the basis of our TRO before the RP Supreme Court,” he said. (


© 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.)

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