KUWAIT: A two-page petition was formally submitted to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in Manila calling the agency to include the names of more than 275 Filipino voters whose names were not included in the official list of certified voters in Kuwait. Comelec has the official list of certified voters at the Philippine Embassy as prescribed by law, and if names of voters are not included in the list, they will not be allowed to vote. The Philippine presidential elections started for Filipinos abroad on April 9, one month before the May 9 elections in the Philippines. Filipino overseas voters are allowed to vote for president, vice-president, senators and party representatives.
The two-page petition was submitted to the Comelec in Manila bearing the names of 275 people signed by Philippine Consul General to Kuwait Raul Dado. Dado feared voters whose names are not on the certified list could multiply in the coming days, as Filipinos have till May 9 to vote. “The voting is not yet over, and we already have this huge number of voter complaints. We expect this number to multiply soon, so we have submitted the petition now,” he added.
The petitioners claimed they were officially registered as voters but their names were not on the official list. Dado wrote a letter with the names of the petitioners to Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista. “We registered at the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait for the overseas voting of 2016, but we could not vote because our names were not included in the certified list of voters, notwithstanding that most of us have registration receipts and Comelec IDs,” the petition letter stated.
The first petition to Comelec was sent to Manila last week with names of 140 people. The initial reply of the Comelec was that most of the 140 petitioners either had no records or their names were deactivated. Overseas Absentee Voters who fail to vote twice or in two consecutive Philippine elections are automatically deactivated by Comelec. Only eight petitioners regained their right to vote.
“We are hoping to retrieve more names of voters and Comelec is helping us in this matter. So, while there is still time, I would like to appeal to every Filipino voter in Kuwait to come early, so if there are similar problems, we can still find a solution and retrieve your names,” Dado noted.
By Ben Garcia