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HB00886 [History]

Session No.: 13-1RS-003


Significance: N
Date Filed: 2004-07-01
Full Title: AN ACT PROVIDING FOR GUIDELINES IN THE SELECTION AND
APPOINTMENT OF A STATE UNIVERSITY/COLLEGE PRESIDENT, AMENDING
FOR THE PURPOSE THE 'HIGHER EDUCATION MODERNIZATION ACT OF
1997', AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES'
Subject/s: COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES
Principal Author: ERMITA-BUHAIN, EILEENDate Read: 2004-07-28
Abstract: This bill seeks to provide for the guidelines in the selection and appointment of
a state university/college president. It institutes a uniform set of guidelines to avert
possible questions on the validity of the search committee's recommendation and assure a
transparent process of selection.
Primary Referral: HIGHER AND TECHNICAL EDUCATION
Bill Status: Substituted by HB05337
Mother Bill Status: Approved by the House on 2006-08-07, transmitted to on 2006-08-14
and received by the Senate on 2006-08-14

TWELFTH CONGRESS OF THE REPUBLIC )

OF THE PHILIPPINES )

First Regular Session )

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

COMMITTEE REPORT NO. 063

Submitted by the Committees on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms, Foreign Affairs, Labor
and Employment, and Appropriations on Oct 16 2001.

Re: House Bill No. 3570;

Recommending its Approval in substitution of House Bill Nos. 103, 211, 368, 1305,
1311, 1608, 1782, 1783, 1812, 1847, 2061, 2115, 2495, 2744, & 2870;
Sponsors: Reps. Syjuco, De Venecia, Lozada, Barinaga, Andaya, Macarambon, Jr.,
Nachura and Rosales

Mr. Speaker;

The Committees on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms, Foreign Affairs, Labor and
Employment and Appropriations, to which were referred House Bill No. 103, introduced
by Rep. Syjuco, entitled:

“AN ACT PROVIDING FOR A SYSTEM OF ABSENTEE VOTING FOR QUALIFIED


FILIPINOS ABROAD AND APPROPRIATING FUNDS THEREFOR,”

House Bill No. 211, introduced by Reps. De Venecia & Lopez (J), entitled:

“AN ACT PROVIDING FOR A SYSTEM OF ABSENTEE VOTING BY QUALIFIED


FILIPINOS ABROAD,”

House Bill No. 368, introduced by Rep. Abayon, entitled:

“AN ACT PROVIDING FOR A SYSTEM OF ABSENTEE VOTING FOR QUALIFIED


FILIPINOS ABROAD AND APPROPRIATING FUNDS THEREFOR,”

House Bill No. 1305, introduced by Rep. Angara-Castillo, entitled:


“AN ACT PROVIDING A SYSTEM FOR ABSENTEE VOTING AND
REGISTRATION FOR QUALIFIED OVERSEAS FILIPINOS AND APPROPRIATING
FUNDS THEREFOR”

House Bill No. 1311, introduced by Rep. Lozada, Jr., entitled:

AN ACT PROVIDING FOR A SYSTEM OF ABSENTEE VOTING AND


REGISTRATION FOR QUALIFIED FILIPINOS ABROAD AND APPROAPRIATING
FUNDS THEREFOR AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES,”

House Bill No. 1608, introduced by Rep. Marcos, entitled:

“AN ACT PROVIDING FOR A SYSTEM OF ABSENTEE VOTING AND


REGISTRATION FOR QUALIFIED FILIPINOS ABROAD AND APPROPRIATING
FUNDS THEREFOR,”

House Bill No. 1646, introduced by Rep. Jala, entitled:

“AN ACT PROVIDING FOR A SYSTEM OF ABSENTEE VOTING AND


REGISTRATION FOR QUALIFIED FILIPINOS ABROAD AND APPROPRIATING
FUNDS THEREFOR,”

House Bill No. 1782, introduced by Rep. Bueser, entitled:

“AN ACT PROVIDING FOR A SYSTEM OF ABSENTEE VOTING AND


REGISTRATION FOR QUALIFIED FILIPINOS ABROAD AND APPROPRIATING
FUNDS THEREFOR,”
House Bill No. 1783, introduced by Rep. Lapus, entitled:

“AN ACT PROVIDING FOR A SYSTEM OF ABSENTEE VOTING AND


REGISTRATION FOR QUALIFIED FILIPINOS ABROAD AND APPROPRIATING
FUNDS THEREFOR,”

House Bill No. 1812, introduced by Rep. Barinaga, entitled:

AN ACT TO PROVIDE FOR A SYSTEM OF ABSENTEE VOTING FOR QUALIFIED


FILIPINOS ABROAD AND APPROPRIATING FUNDS THEREFOR,”

House Bill No. 1835, introduced by Rep. Macarambon, Jr., entitled:

“AN ACT PROVIDING FOR A SYSTEM OF ABSENTEE VOTING AND


REGISTRATION FOR QUALIFIED FILIPINOS ABROAD AND APPROPRIATING
FUNDS THEREFOR,”

House Bill No. 1847, introduced by Rep. Estrella III, entitled:

“AN ACT PROVIDING A SYSTEM OF ABSENTEE VOTING AND REGISTRATION


FOR QUALIFIED FILIPINOS ABROAD AND APPROPRIATING FUNDS
THEREFOR,”

House Bill No. 2061, introduced by Rep. Nachura, entitled:


“AN ACT PROVIDING FOR A SYSTEM OF ABSENTEE VOTING AND
REGISTRATION FOR QUALIFIED FILIPINOS ABROAD AND APPROPRIATING
FUNDS THEREFOR,”

House Bill No. 2115, introduced by Rep. Ablan, entitled:

“AN ACT PROVIDING FOR A SYSTEM OF ABSENTEE VOTING AND


REGISTRATION FOR QUALIFIED FILIPINOS ABROAD AND APPROPRIATING
FUNDS THEREFOR,”

House Bill No. 2495, introduced by Rep. Roco, entitled:

AN ACT PROVIDING FOR A SYSTEM OF ABSENTEE VOTING BY QUALIFIED


FILIPINOS ABROAD,”

House Bill No. 2744, introduced by Rep. Layus, entitled:

“AN ACT PROVIDING FOR A SYSTEM OF ABSENTEE VOTING AND


REGISTRATION FOR QUALIFIED FILIPINOS ABROAD AND APPROPRIATING
FUNDS THEREFOR,”

House Bill No. 2747, introduced by Rep. Rosales, entitled:

“AN ACT PROVIDING FOR A SYSTEM OF ABSENTEE VOTING AND


REGISTRATION FOR QUALIFIED FILIPINOS ABROAD AND APPROPRIATING
FUNDS THEREFOR,”

House Bill No. 2870, introduced by Rep. Espinosa (V), entitled:


“AN ACT PROVIDING FOR A SYSTEM OF ABSENTEE VOTING AND
REGISTRATION FOR QUALIFIED FILIPINOS ABROAD AND APPROPRIATING
FUNDS THEREFOR,”

and House Bill No. 3030, introduced by Rep. Del Mar, entitled:

“AN ACT PROVIDING FOR A SYSTEM OF ABSENTEE VOTING AND


REGISTRATION FOR QUALIFIED FILIPINOS ABROAD AND APPROPRIATING
FUNDS THEREFOR,”

have considered the same and have the honor to report them back to the House of
Representatives with the recommendation that House Bill No. 3570, entitled:

“AN ACT PROVIDING FOR A SYSTEM OF ABSENTEE VOTING AND


REGISTRATION FOR QUALIFIED FILIPINOS ABROAD AND APPROPRIATING
FUNDS THEREFOR,”

be approved in substitution of House Bill Nos. 103, 211, 368, 1305, 1311, 1608, 1646,
1782, 1783, 1812, 1835, 1847, 2061, 2115, 2495, 2744, 2747 & 2870 with Reps. Syjuco,
De Venecia, Lopez (J), Abayon, Angara-Castillo, Lozada, Marcos, Jala, Bueser, Lapus,
Barinaga, Macarambon, Jr., Estrella III, Nachura, Ablan, Roco, Layus, Rosales, Espinosa
(V), Lacson (JC), Badelles, Cirilo, Cuenco, Jaraula, Libanan, Zialcita, Rodriguez (O),
Mathay, Punzalan (L), Villareal, Albano, (R), Jr., Uy (E.C.), Joaquin, Nograles, Gonzalez
(R), Villarama (W), Failon and Escudero, Puentebella, Echiverri, Del Mar and Perez (F.)
as authors thereof.

Respectfully submitted:

J. Apolinario L. Lozada, Jr. Augusto Boboy Syjuco


Chairman Chairman

Committee on Foreign Affairs Committee on Suffrage

and Electoral Reforms

Rolando G. Andaya, Jr. Roseller L. Barinaga, Jr.

Chairman Chairman

Committee on Appropriations Committee on Labor

and Employment

THE HONORABLE

THE SPEAKER

House of Representatives

Republic of the Philippines

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Quezon City

TWELFTH CONGRESS

First Regular Session

HOUSE BILL NO. 3570

In substitution of House Bill Nos. 103,211,368, 1305, 1311, 1608, 1646, 1782, 1783,
1812, 1835, 1847, 2061, 2115, 2495, 2744, 2747, 2870 and 3030
Introduced by Representatives Syjuco, De Venecia, Lopez (J), Abayon, Angara-Castillo,
Lozada, Marcos, Jala, Bueser, Lapus, Barinaga, Macarambon, Jr., Estrella III, Nachura,
Ablan, Roco, Layus, Rosales, Espinosa (V), Del Mar, Lacson (JC), Badelles, Cirilo,
Cuenco, Jarau1a, Libanan, Zialcita, Rodriguez (O), Mathay, Punzalan (L), Villareal,
Albano, (R), Jr, Uy (E.C.), Joaquin, Nograles, Gonzalez (R), Villarama (W), Failon,
Escudero, Perez (F), Puentebella and Echiverri

AN ACT PROVIDING FOR A SYSTEM OF ABSENTEE VOTING AND


REGISTRATION FOR QUALIFIED FILIPINOS ABROAD AND APPROPRIATING
FUNDS THEREFOR

Be it enacted by the Senate and the House of Representatives of the Republic of the
Philippines in Congress assembled:

SECTION 1. Short Title. -This Act shall be known as the "Absentee Voting and
Registration Act of 2001.”

SEC. 2. Declaration of Policy. -The State shall provide a system of absentee voting and
registration for qualified Filipinos abroad. Towards this end, the State shall ensure equal
opportunity and proper access to all qualified Filipinos abroad in the exercise of this
fundamental right.

SEC. 3. Definition of Terms. -For purposes of this Act:

(a) “Absentee Voting” refers to the process by which qualified Filipinos abroad may vote
in Philippine elections;

(b) Filipinos Abroad" refers to Filipino citizens, who are qualified to vote but who, during
Philippine elections, are outside of the Philippines either on a temporary or permanent
basis, including land-based and sea-based overseas Filipino workers, employees of the
Philippine Government including members of the Armed Forces assigned in foreign
countries, and Filipino citizens who are legally residing abroad.
(c) "National Elections" refers to any regular or special elections held for the purpose of
electing (any candidate for the Office of President Vice-President Members of the Senate,
Party-List Representative, or any plebiscite, referendum or initiative on any national
issue;

(d) "Absentee Registration" refers to the act of accomplishing and filing of a sworn
application for registration by a qualified Filipino voter abroad and including the same in
the book of registered voters upon approval by the Commission on Elections;

(e) "Registration Record" refers to the application for registration duly approved by the
Commission on Elections;

(f) "List of Voters" refers to the enumeration of registered Filipino voters abroad per
country duly certified by the Commission on Elections for use in the election;

(g) "Commission" refers to the Commission on Elections;

(h) "Board of Election Inspectors" refers to the body that conducts the election in the
polling place.

SEC. 4. Coverage. -Any Filipino abroad who has not renounced his Filipino citizenship
and not otherwise disqualified by law, shall have the right to register and vote in all
national elections.

SEC. 5 Disqualifications. -The following shall be disqualified to register and vote under
this Act:

(a) Any Filipino who has been sentenced by final judgment of a Philippine court or
tribunal to suffer imprisonment of .not less than one (1) year, including those found guilty
of disloyalty as defined under Article 137 of the Revised Penal Code, such disability not
having been removed by plenary pardon or amnesty: Provided, however, that any person
disqualified to vote under this subsection shall automatically reacquire the right to vote
upon expiration of five (5) years after service of sentence;

(b) Any Filipino previously declared insane or incompetent by competent authority unless
subsequently declared by proper authority that such person is no longer insane or
incompetent;

(c) Any person who has lost his Filipino citizenship;

(d) Any person who has renounced his Filipino citizenship and has pledged
allegiance to a foreign country

(e) Any person whose registration has been cancelled or annulled.

SEC. .6. Absentee Registration. -All Filipinos abroad not otherwise disqualified by law
who are at least eighteen (18) years of age regardless of their location, work category and
residency status abroad, may register as a voter.

Any person, who, on the day of registration may not have reached the required age but
who, on the day of election shall possess such qualification, may register as a voter .

Immediately after the approval of this Act, the Commission may hold a general
registration of voters for Filipinos abroad on certain dates and in places abroad as may be
determined by the Commission for purposes of the 2004 regular elections and all
elections, plebiscites, referenda and initiatives subsequent thereto.

Thereafter, Filipinos abroad may file their application for registration, personally or by
mail, directly to the city or municipality of his residence. The Commission may accredit
Filipino associations or non-government organizations that could assist at any stage or
process of said registration of voters.

No registration, however, shall be conducted during the period starting one hundred
eighty (180) days before an election.

Filipinos abroad who have applied or are already registered in the Philippines pursuant to
Republic Act No.8189, otherwise known as the "Voters Registration Act of 1996" need
not register anew.

SEC. 7. Change of Residence. -Any registered Filipino voter abroad who has transferred
to another country or in any place within the same country where he sojourns, may notify
in writing the Commission or the Election Registration Board in the city or municipality
of his residence for the transfer of his registration records or any necessary changes that
must be effected therein.

SEC. 8. Notice of Election -The Commission shall through diplomatic or consular


officers, cause by publication in a newspaper of general circulation in the countries where
Filipino citizens are found, the place, date and time of the holding of a regular or special
national election and the requirements for the participation of qualified Filipinos not later
than one hundred eighty (180) days before the day of election.
The Commission shall also disseminate information on the mechanics of voting, which
shall include but not limited to primers, to qualified Filipinos abroad through Philippine
embassies or consulates or, where there are no such offices, send such information by
mail or by whatever possible means directly to the residential or working addresses of
Filipino citizens abroad or through non-government organizations or associations.

SEC. 9. Application for Absentee Voting. -Every qualified Filipino abroad who has
applied for registration or has been registered may file with the Commission on Elections
or with the diplomatic or consular offices, not later than one hundred fifty (150) days
before a regular or special national election, a sworn written application to vote in
absentia in a form prescribed by the Commission.

The Commission shall ensure the availability of application forms for absentee voting in
Philippine embassies or consulates. In places where there are no such offices, such
application forms shall be sent to qualified voters by mail or by whatever possible means
directly to the residential or working addresses of qualified Filipino citizens abroad or
through non-government organizations or associations.

The Commission shall also provide application forms for absentee voting to all Filipinos
before their departure from the Philippines through the Department of Labor and the
Department of Foreign Affairs and other appropriate private or government agencies
before their departure from the Philippines.

Applications for absentee voting may be effected personally by the voter presenting
himself before the Commission in Manila or the diplomatic or consular official or a non-
government organization or association duly deputized. by the Commission. Application
by mail may be effected by the applicant sending a sworn written application to the
diplomatic or consular office where he is located, or, if no such office is established in
that country , then' to the Commission's central office in Manila.

Upon receipt of the applications for absentee voting, the diplomatic or consular officers
or deputies of the Commission shall immediately transmit the same to the Commission
for verification. The Commission shall act on the applications not later than ninety (90)
days before the elections.
In cases of approval or disapproval, any aggrieved party or their representatives, voter or
representatives of political parties may file a petition with the Commission for the
inclusion or exclusion of Filipinos abroad from the voter's list The Commission shall
decide on said petitions within ten (10) days upon receipt thereof and notify affected
parties within five (5) days thereafter.

SEC. 10. Preparation and Posting of Certified List of Absentee Voters –The Commission
shall prepare a certified list of absentee voters ninety (90) days before a regular or special
national election and furnish copies thereof to all Philippine embassies and consulates or,
where there are no such offices, to deputized Filipino associations or organizations
abroad. Copies of the certified list of voters shall be posted in the Philippine embassies or
consulates or in such other places as may be determined by the Commission. Upon
payment of fees fixed by the Commission, the candidates, heads of political parties and
accredited citizens' arms shall also be furnished copies thereof.

SEC. 11. -Transmittal, Printing and Distribution of Ballots, Election Forms and
Paraphernalia. -The Commission shall, within sixty (60) days before the election,
transmit by diplomatic pouch through the Department of Foreign Affairs to the different
embassies and consulates abroad, the number of ballots for absentee voting
corresponding to the number of registered Filipino voters abroad, and election forms and
paraphernalia necessary to ensure the secrecy, integrity and sanctity of the votes cast It
shall be the duty and responsibility of the different embassies and consulates and an other
concerned persons -deputized by the Commission, to distribute the ballots, election forms
and paraphernalia in accordance with the guidelines issued by the Commission. In places
where there are no Philippine Embassies or Consulates, such ballots shall be sent to
qualified voters by mail or by whatever possible means directly to the residential or
working addresses of qualified Filipinos abroad.

Party watchers shall have the right to be present in all phases of printing, distribution and
transmittal of ballots. No excess ballot shall be printed or distributed. Undelivered ballots
shall be returned to the Commission unaccomplished.

SEC. 12. Regulation on Campaigning Abroad. -Campaign materials of any candidate .or
political party may be sent to qualified Filipino voters by the political parties or
candidates concerned: Provided, that, the Commission shall ensure equal opportunities to
all candidates and political parties by regulating the size, number and format of campaign
materials:
SEC. 13. Balloting Procedure. -Ballots shall be prepared and mailed to registered
absentee voters at their given address at least forty-five (45) days before the day of
election.

The absentee voter may personally vote and cast his ballot in the voting center situated in
the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the Republic of the Philippines on the day of
the election. Otherwise, he may send his envelope directly to the Commission in Manila
or to the corresponding diplomatic or consular office where he sojourns.

Every qualified absentee voter shall be entitled to cast his ballot at least fifteen (15) days
before the day of election. All ballots shall be contained in a specially sealed envelope
with sealed markings. The voter shall be instructed that his ballot shall not be counted if
not transmitted in the special envelope furnished him.

The ballots duly accomplished by absentee voters may be personally delivered or sent by
registered mail to the diplomatic or consular officer concerned or directly to the
Commission, and must be received by the same before the close of the designated voting
hour.

SEC. 14. Counting and Canvass. -Counting and canvass of absentee votes shall be
conducted simultaneously with the counting and canvassing of votes for local and
national elective officials. This process shall be open to the public.

For this purpose, the Commission shall constitute as many special board of election
inspectors in diplomatic and consular offices and its central office in Manila as may be
necessary to count ballots. The Commission may deputize any Filipino from non-
government organizations or any private entity , as well as Filipino government officials
working and residing abroad as members of the board of election inspectors abroad.

Only ballots received by the Commission and diplomatic and consular offices or board of
election inspectors abroad on or before the close of voting on the day of the election shall
be included in the counting of votes.

A special board of canvassers composed of a director of the Commission, as chairman, an


officer of equivalent rank in the Department of Justice, as vice-chairman, and an officer
also of equal rank in the Department of Education, Culture and Sports, as member, shall
be constituted to canvass the election returns submitted to it by the board of election
inspectors.

For purposes of the 2004 elections or until such time that an automated system of
elections could be implemented as may be determined by the Commission, the counting
and canvassing of absentee votes shall be done manually.
SEC. 15. Authority of the Commission to Promulgate Rules. –The Commission shall, in
consultation with the Oversight Committee, created by virtue of this Act, the Department
of Foreign Affairs, the Department of Labor and Employment and other pertinent
agencies of the government and non-government organizations, promulgate the necessary
rules and regulations for the effective implementation of the provisions of this Act

SEC. 16. Information Campaign. -The Commission shall, in cooperation with concerned
government agencies and non-government organizations, undertake the necessary
information campaign for the purpose of educating the electorate on the manner of
absentee voting within and outside of the Philippines:

SEC. 17. Access to Official Records and Documents. -Any person shall have the right to
access and/ or copy at his expense all registration records, voters list and other official
records and documents subject to reasonable regulations.

SEC. 18. Assistance from Government Officials. -All government officials to the extent
practicable with their primary responsibilities, shall assist the Commission in carrying out
the purpose of this Act All such officials shall take reasonable measures to expedite the
transmission, delivery and return of all election matters that the Commission may require
them to perform. Whenever necessary, the Commission may send supervisory teams,
headed by career executive service officers to assist the diplomatic or consular offices
concerned.

SEC. 19. Security Measure to Safeguard the Secrecy and Sanctity of Ballots. - At all
stages of the electoral process, the Commission shall ensure that the secrecy and sanctity
of the ballot shall be preserved. Towards this end, all necessary and practicable measures
shall be adopted to allow representation of the candidates, political parties, accredited
citizen's arms and non-government organizations to intervene in all stages of the electoral
exercise and to prevent any and all forms of fraud and coercion.

SEC. 20. Prohibited Acts. -Violations of any provision of this Act shall constitute an
election offense whether committed in the Philippines or in the countries where absentee
voting for qualified Filipinos may be conducted.
The penalties imposed in Section 264 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 881, otherwise known as
the Omnibus Election Code of the Philippines, As Amended, shall be imposed upon any
person found guilty of violating any provision of this Act.

SEC. 21. Oversight Committee. -There shall be an Oversight Committee composed of


three (3) members each from the Senate, the House of Representatives and the
Commission on Elections to monitor and evaluate the implementation of this Act. A
report to Congress shall be submitted within ninety (90) days from the date of election.

SEC. 22. Applicability of other Election Laws. -The pertinent provisions of Batas
Pambansa Blg. 881, As Amended, Republic Act No.8189 and other election laws that are
not in conflict with the provisions of this Act shall have suppletory effect.

SEC. 23. Appropriations. -The amount necessary to carry out the provisions of this Act
shall be included in the General Appropriations Act of the year following its enactment
into law and thereafter.

SEC. 24. Separability Clause. -H any provision of this Act shall be declared
unconstitutional or invalid, the same shall not affect the remainder hereof.

SEC. 25. Repealing Clause. -All laws, executive orders, rules and regulations that are
inconsistent with the provisions of this Act are hereby repealed or modified accordingly.

SEC. 26. Effectivity. -This Act shall take effect fifteen (15) days following its

publication in any newspaper of national circulation.

Approved,

COMMITTEE ON SUFFRAGE AND ELECTORAL REFORMS


FACT SHEET

ABSENTEE VOTING AND REGISTRATION FOR QUALIFIED FILIPINOS


ABROAD

BENEFIT OR ADVANTAGE:

The proposed law would politically empower Filipinos abroad through the exercise of
their fundamental right to suffrage.

SALIENT PROVISIONS:

Any qualified Filipino abroad who has not renounced his Filipino citizenship and is not
otherwise disqualified by law, shall have the right to register and vote in absentia in all
national elections.

“Filipinos abroad” refers to Filipino citizens who are qualified to vote but who, during
Philippine elections are outside the Philippines either on a temporary or permanent basis,
including:

-land-based and sea-based overseas Filipino workers;

-Employees of the Philippine Government including the members of the Armed Forces
assigned in foreign countries; and

-Filipino citizens who are legally residing abroad.


“National Election” refers to any regular or special elections held for the purpose of
electing any candidate for the office of the President, Vice-President, Member of the
Senate, party-list Representative, or any plebiscite, referendum or initiative on any
national issue;

Immediately after the approval of this Act, the Commission on Elections (COMELEC)
may hold a general registration of voters for qualified Filipinos abroad in certain dates
and places as may be determined by the Commission for purposes of the 2004 elections
and other subsequent electoral exercises. Thereafter, Filipinos abroad may file their
application for registration, personally or by mail, directly to the COMELEC office in the
city or municipality of his residence.

Any Filipino abroad who has applied for registration or has been registered in the
Philippines may file with the Commission on Elections or with the diplomatic or consular
offices, not later than one hundred fifty (150) days before a regular or special national
election , a sworn written application to vote in absentia.

Official ballots shall be prepared and mailed to registered absentee voters at their given
address at least forty-five (45) days before the day of election. The absentee voter may
personally vote and cast his ballot in the voting center situated in the nearest diplomatic
or consular office of the Republic of the Philippines on the day of the election. Otherwise,
he may send his envelope directly to the Commission in Manila or to the corresponding
diplomatic or consular office where he sojourns.

Counting and canvass of absentee votes shall be conducted simultaneously with the
counting and canvassing of votes for local and national elective officials. This process
shall be open to the public. For this purpose, the Commission shall create as many board
of election inspectors in diplomatic and consular offices and its central office in Manila
as may be necessary to count ballots.

A special board of canvassers composed of a director of the Commission, as chairman, an


officer of equivalent rank in the Department of Justice, as vice-chairman, and an officer
also of equal rank in the department of Education, Culture and Sports, as member, shall
be constituted to canvas the election returns submitted by the board of election inspectors.
There shall be an Oversight Committee composed of three (3) members each from the
Senate, the House of Representatives and the Commission on Elections to monitor and
evaluate the implementation of this Act.

The COMELEC may deputize non-government organizations of Filipinos abroad to


perform various election duties in all stages of the electoral process.

COMMITTEE ON SUFFRAGE AND ELECTORAL REFORMS

ISSUE BRIEF

ABSENTEE VOTING AND REGISTRATION FOR QUALIFIED FILIPINOS


ABROAD

CONTENTION ISSUES:

1. QUALIFIED OVERSEAS FILIPINO VOTER

Who are qualified to vote?

The bill provides that:

Any Filipino abroad who has not renounced his Filipino Citizenship and not otherwise
disqualified by law, shall have the right to register and vote overseas in all national
elections.
“Filipinos abroad” refers to Filipino citizens who are qualified to vote but who, during
Philippine elections are outside the Philippines either on a temporary or permanent basis,
including:

-land-based and sea-based overseas Filipino workers;

-employees of the Philippine Government including the members of the Armed Forces
assigned in foreign countries; and

-Filipino citizens who are legally residing abroad.

“National Election” refers to any regular or special elections held for the purpose of
electing any candidate for the office of the President, Vice-President, Member of the
Senate, party-list Representative, or any plebiscite, referendum or initiative on any
national issue;

Some members of the Committee, civil society groups and the Commission on Filipinos
Overseas (CFO) contend that:

1. Suffrage is a basic right of any citizen. The constitutional provision on citizenship


presumes that for as long as one is a Filipino citizen, he may vote in absentia;

2. The status of living or working overseas is not a disqualification under the law. An
example of the disqualification is when one of the penalties in felonies under the revised
Penal Code and electoral offenses in the Omnibus Election Code provides for the
disqualification of the felon to exercise the right to vote;

3. The right to suffrage, must be extended to all Filipinos overseas, including Filipino
immigrants who continue to contribute to the economy through remittances, tax
payments, investments and personal donations;
4. According to statistic of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas, there are
approximately 6.97 million Filipinos abroad. This figure is equivalent to 10% of the total
Philippine population and reflects the number of those who may be automatically
disenfranchised from voting in the absence of an absentee voting mechanism.

The Commission on Elections and some members of the committee contend that:

The Constitution also requires that a voter must have resided in the Philippines for at
least one (1) year and in the place where they propose to vote for at least six (6) months.
Thus, permanent residents abroad should be disqualified;

In the deliberation of the 1986 Constitutional Commission, the coverage of absentee


voting was accorded to “qualified citizens temporarily abroad.” The members of the
Commission , in approving the proposal to extend voting rights to overseas Filipinos,
have considered that these Filipinos must be “domiciled” in the Philippines to avail of
absentee voting. The Civil Code of the Philippines defines “domicilia” as a “permanent
residence to which when absent, one has the intention of returning.”

Mr. Christian Monsod former member of the 1986 Constitutional Commission, clarified
that the term “temporarily abroad” need not be on very short trips.

2. REGISTRATION OF VOTERS

Should registration of voters be conducted abroad?

The bill provides that:

Filipinos abroad may file their application for registration, personally or by mail, directly
to the COMELEC in the city or municipality of his residence;
Some members of the Committee, the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) and
civil society groups contend that:

If personal registration in the Philippines is mandatory as a prerequisite to absentee


voting, Filipinos overseas who may not be able to return to the Philippines to register
may be disenfranchised. Examples of these overseas Filipinos are: 1) Disabled; 2)
Elderly; 3) Students.