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Sep 28th
Home Sections Politics RP Supreme Court Asked to Extend OA-Voter Registration
RP Supreme Court Asked to Extend OA-Voter Registration PDF Print E-mail
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Sections - Politics
Written by Joseph G. Lariosa   
Tuesday, 22 December 2009 14:13


(© 2009 Journal Group Link International)


RP Supreme Court Asked to Extend Overseas-Absentee Voter Registration


C HICAGO, Illinois (JGLi) – A Filipino-American group that convinced the Philippine Supreme Court to allow dual citizens to vote in Philippine elections is returning to Court to ask it to extend the registration of voters among Overseas Filipinos.


In a column written by one of the supporters of the group, Atty. Rodel E. Rodis said by extending the voter registration period to Jan. 9, 2010, for Philippine-based voters, the Supreme Court should also extend the registration of voters for overseas Filipinos.


Last Dec. 8, 2009, the Supreme Court, in a decision in Palatino v. Comelec, directed the Philippine Commission on Elections (Comelec) “to proceed with dispatch in reopening the registration of voters and hold the same until January 9, 2010.”


“Because the decision only covers voters in the Philippines, a petition to the Court to extend its ruling to cover overseas Filipinos will be filed this week,” Mr. Rodis said in his syndicated column, Telltale Signs.


Before the ruling, Filipinos in the Philippines had until Oct. 31, 2009, to register to vote in the May 10, 2010, elections. While those overseas had only until Aug. 31, 2009, to do so.


The voters in the Philippines were given 11 months, starting Dec. 1, 2008, to register while those overseas only had seven months to do so, starting Feb. 1, 2009.


Atty. Rodis said his group will argue that the Comelec is not barred by RA 9189 (The Overseas Absentee Voting Act of 2003) from setting a different deadline. RA 9189 empowers the Comelec to allow shorter preparation period as minimal Comelec resources are needed to register overseas voters that are handled by Philippine consulate officials while Comelec needs more resources to register voters in the Philippines.


Local consulates can still make use of the voters’ registration machines that have not yet been shipped back to the Comelec.


The low turnout of 250,000 overseas registrations from a goal of one million is being traced to delayed registration to Feb. 11, 2009, and lack of advertising notices, announcing the voters’ registration. It merely issued one press release on July 13, 2009,  declaring its intention to “tap the Iglesia ni Cristo, the Jesus is Lord Church and the Overseas-Filipino workers’ (OFW) group Migrante International to help them in its campaign to increase the turn-out of overseas-absentee voter (OAV) registrants.”


A Chicago Filipino-American dual citizen, Ting Joven, wanted to register after learning that Senators Noynoy Aquino and Mar Roxas had joined the race but was disappointed to learn that registration deadline was over, according to Chicago community leader, Marlon L. Pecson.


This week, lawyers for the newly formed US Pinoys for Noynoy-Mar ( will file a petition with the Comelec to extend the Palatino ruling to Overseas Filipinos.


This would be the second time US Pinoys would go to the Supreme Court. In 2004, the Comelec issued a ruling that dual citizens were not eligible to vote in Philippine elections because they did not satisfy the residency requirement. Loida Nicolas Lewis, Greg Macabenta, Alex Esclamado and other Filipino-American leaders filed a petition with the Philippine Supreme Court to nullify the Comelec ruling.


On August 4, 2006, in the case Nicolas-Lewis v. Comelec, the Supreme Court overturned the Comelec and allowed dual citizens the right to vote in Philippine elections stating that the essence of the dual citizenship law is to “enfranchise as much as possible all overseas Filipinos.”


In filing the petition with the Supreme Court to extend its Palatino ruling to overseas Filipinos, the Court will be reminded of its decision in Nicolas-Lewis v. Comelec and in the principle that the right of suffrage which is a fundamental right in a democracy must be treated as a higher right than the power of the Comelec to regulate the conduct of elections. (



© 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.


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