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Migrante Europe

Frequently Asked Questions on the Overseas Absentee Voting Act


Contributed by GMA News.TV
Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Q. Who are qualified to vote as overseas absentee voters?


A. All citizens of the Philippines abroad, who are not disqualified by law, and who are at least 18 years of age on the day
of the elections.
Q. Who are disqualified to vote as overseas absentee voters?
A. Under the OAVA, the following are disqualified to vote:
• Those who lost their Filipino citizenship;
• Those who expressly renounce their Philippine citizenship and pledge allegiance to a foreign country, except dual
citizens as referred to under Republic Act No. 9225;
• Those who are convicted in a final judgment by a court or a tribunal of an offense punishable by imprisonment of
not less than one (1) year, including those found guilty of disloyalty as defined in Art. 137 of the Revised Penal Code;
• An immigrant or a permanent resident who is recognized as such in the host country; and
• Any citizen of the Philippines abroad previously declared insane or incompetent by competent authorities in the
Philippines or abroad.

Q. Under what conditions may an immigrant or a permanent resident be allowed?


A. Prior to registration, the immigrant or permanent resident shall execute an affidavit declaring that he/she shall resume
actual physical permanent residence in the Philippines not later than three (3) years from approval of his/her registration
as an absentee voter (Section 5d of the OAVA).

Q. Can undocumented migrants vote? If so, will they be required to execute the affidavit?
A. Yes, provided they are not among those disqualified under the law. They can present their passports as proof of their
Philippine citizenship, or other documents such as birth certificate, baptismal, marriage certificate, etc.

Undocumented migrants are NOT required to execute the affidavit declaring their intent to return to the Philippines within
three years, as they are not considered "immigrants" or "permanent residents" in the host country. The deliberations
during the passage of the act indicate that Section 5d of the law was specifically intended to cover persons who are
LEGAL IMMIGRANTS abroad, such as the Green Card holders in the USA.

Q. How can a Philippine Embassy or Consulate determine who among Filipinos abroad should be considered immigrants
or permanent residents abroad, and therefore required to execute affidavits declaring that they will return to the
Philippines in three years?
A. There are elements in the definition of immigrant or permanent resident as indicated in law:

• A decision to settle permanently in another country;


• Such decision must be made of the person's own free will and is not being imposed by an outside factor (in other
words, it is not the worker but his employer who can determine anytime his place of work.)
• He must be considered as such in the host country, meaning he is a legal immigrant and not an undocumented
alien.

Following these rules, the following are NOT required to execute the affidavit:
• Overseas contract workers who keep on renewing their contracts of employment (such as the Filipinos in the
Middle East, even those who have been staying abroad for many years);
• Filipinos who are not staying legally in their host country (such as the "TNTs" in the USA); and
• Persons working for certain companies or employers who transfer them from country to country, independent of
the private choice of the employee (such as religious workers, chefs, executives of multinational companies, and other
ambulatory workers).

The following should be considered as immigrants or permanent residents and should be required to execute the affidavit:
• Those who are carrying Green Cards or other identity cards issued by the host government, which under the host
country's laws are only issued to persons considered to have legally migrated to that country;
• Persons who are married to a national of the host country;

Q. What if the Filipino immigrant or permanent resident does not return to the Philippines within three years as what
declared in the affidavit? What if he votes in the next elections as an absentee voter?
A. Failure to return shall be cause for the removal of the name of the immigrant or permanent resident from the National
Registry of Absentee Voters and his/her permanent disqualification to vote in absentia. Immigrants and permanent
residents who do not resume residence in the Philippines as stipulated in their affidavit Section 5d of R.A. 9189, within
three years after approval of his/her registration and yet vote in the next elections contrary to said section, shall be
penalized by imprisonment of not less than one (1) year, and shall be deemed disqualified. His/her passport shall be
stamped "not allowed to vote".

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Q. What is the procedure in case a qualified citizens of the Philippines abroad failed to register under R.A. 8189
otherwise known as "The Voters Registration Act of 1996"?
A. He/she may personally apply for registration with the Election Registration Board of the city or municipality where they
were domiciled immediately prior to their departure from the Philippines, or with the representative of the Commission at
the Philippine embassies, consulates and other foreign service establishments that have jurisdiction over the locality
where they temporarily reside.

Q. How shall the COMELEC notify the applicant in case an objection to the application is filed? What is the remedy of
said applicant?
A. The Election Officer shall notify the applicant of said objection by registered mail, enclosing therein copies of affidavits
or documents in support of the objection if any. The applicant shall have the right to file his counter-affidavit by registered
mail, clearly stating therein facts and defenses sworn before any officer in the host country authorize to administer oaths.

Q. What is to be issued in case an application is approved?


A. A certificate of registration as an overseas absentee voter shall be issued by the Commission to all applicants whose
applications have been approved, including those certified as registered voters. The Commission shall include the
approved applications in the National Registry of Absentee Voters

Q. What are the instances in which entries in the National Registry of Absentee voters may be cancelled or amended?
A. When the overseas absentee voter files a letter under oath addressed to the Commission that he/she wishes to be
removed from the National Registry of Absentee Voters, or that his/her name be transferred to the regular registry of
voters; When an overseas absentee voter's name was ordered removed by the Commission from the National Registry
of absentee Voters for his/her failure to exercise his/her right to vote under the OAVA for two (2) consecutive national
elections; and When an immigrant or a permanent resident fails to return or makes a misrepresentation in his/her affidavit
as to his/her application for citizenship in another country.

Q. How can one transfer his/her Registration Record?


A. Section 19. Procedure for Transfer of Registration Records. OAVF No. 1B shall be accompanied by a photocopy of
the requesting party’s passport and filed personally or by mail, as follows:

For transfer from one Post to another:

Who may file: Any registered overseas absentee voter who transfers residence from one Post to another.

Where to file: At the Post having consular jurisdiction over his new residence or before the COAV.

When to file: Not later than 31 August 2009.

The Post shall prepare a list of names of applicants who filed applications for transfer. Said list and the corresponding
accomplished OAVF No. 1B shall be transmitted to the COAV simultaneously with the accomplished OAVF No. 1 and
finalized CD’s in the manner provided in Section 9.b.4.i.

For transfer from one country to another under the same consular jurisdiction of the same Post

Who may file: Any registered overseas absentee voter who transfers residence from one country to another in the same
Post having consular jurisdiction over two or more countries.

Where to file: At the same Post having consular jurisdiction over the country of his new residence or before the COAV.

When to file: Not later than 31 August 2009.

The Post shall prepare a list of names of applicants who filed applications for transfer. Said list and the corresponding
accomplished OAVF No. 1B shall be transmitted to the COAV simultaneously with the accomplished OAVF No. 1 and
finalized CD’s in the manner provided in Section 9.b.4.i.

For transfers from Post to the same Philippine city or municipality comprising the original residence of the applicant

Who may file: any registered overseas absentee voter who transfers residence from Post to the same Philippine city or
municipality comprising his original residence

Where to file: before the COAV

When to file: during the period for the resumption of continuing registration in the Philippines but not later than 30
September 2009. For applications filed in connection with the 2004 and 2007 Elections, the COAV shall verify if the
applicant is included in the National Registry.
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If the applicant is included, the Chairman of the COAV shall approve the accomplished OAVF No. 1B and shall direct the
Election Officer to include the applicant’s name in the Computerized Voters’ List (CVL) of the precinct
comprising the applicant’s residence, attaching to the directive a copy of the applicant’s previously
approved Application for Registration/Certification.

If the applicant’s name is already in the CVL, the EO shall remove the annotation, if any. If the name of the
applicant does not appear in the NROAV, his OAVF No. 1B shall be disapproved. The COAV shall notify the applicant of
the Chairman’s action on the Letter-Request. If his OAVF No. 1B was approved, the applicant shall personally
appear before the EO, accomplish CEF-1B (Annex E), and submit himself to live biometrics capture.

For applications filed for the purpose of the 2007 Elections and future elections, the COAV shall verify if the applicant is
included in the National Registry. If the applicant is included, the Chairman of the COAV shall issue a certification to that
effect and forward the same to the EO concerned for ERB action, attaching thereto a copy of the applicant’s
previously approved Application for Registration/Certification. The EO shall notify the applicant of the ERB’s
action on the Letter-Request, with copy furnished to the COAV.

If his OAVF No. 1B was approved, the applicant shall personally appear before the EO, accomplish CEF?1B, and submit
himself to live biometrics capture. The COAV shall remove the name of the applicant from the NROAV.

Q. What is a "Type I" applicant as provided in the DFA's Implementing Rules and Guidelines? A. These are persons who
can present a valid and existing passport during their registration. There is no need for the Post to verify such passports
with the DFA if they are convinced that such passport is a valid passport. Ideally, all applicants for overseas registration
should be encouraged to request for issuance of a valid passport (if they do not have any) and apply as a Type I
applicant as these applicants are easiest to process.

Q. What if an applicant cannot present a valid passport for reasons other than its loss or temporary unavailability? (Type
II applicants)
A. The applicant shall present substitute documents that the consular officer at the Post shall require such as the
applicant's expired passport, duly authenticated birth certificate from the NSO, residency card, employment card/permit
and local identification card issued by the host country. If the consular officer is convinced that the documents submitted
are sufficient to warrant the issuance of a passport to the applicant, the applicant may be allowed to complete the
registration process.

Q. What are samples of applicants falling under Type II?


A. Persons who have valid passports but just do not have it in their possession when they apply for registration; Persons
with expired passport and are not applying for their renewal; Persons who were last issued Philippine passport many
years back (before 1992), and thus need to apply to apply for a passport as a first time applicant since DFA can no
longer verify these long expired passports; and Persons of dual nationality who have never secured a Philippine passport
(i.e., persons born abroad who have secured foreign passports and subsequently went to reside in the Philippines
without ever using a Philippine passport although they were entitled to such; or persons with one alien parent who have
always used a foreign passport, i.e., a passport bearing the nationality of the alien parent.) Note: Persons carrying
passports under assumed name cannot apply as Type II applicants since they are required to surrender the passports
with the assumed name and apply for a new passport under their correct name upon submission of the required
documents. They would actually qualify therefore as Type I applicants.

Q. Can an applicant using a passport under an assumed name be allowed to register under such assumed name? If not,
under what circumstances would he/she be allowed to register?
A. NO, UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCE WILL THE POST KNOWINGLY PERMIT THE REGISTRATION OF ANY
APPLICANT UNDER AN ASSUMED NAME. This is expressly forbidden by the COMELEC's Implementing Rules and
Regulations (Art. 11). However, such applicant may be allowed to register AFTER issuance of a new passport under
his/her true name upon showing of documentary evidence proving his/her true identity. (The applicant shall be
considered as Type I applicant: those with valid passports). The original passport with the assumed name shall be
confiscated by the consular officer as provided under existing DFA rules and regulations. If the applicant refuses to
surrender the passport with the assumed name, the Post shall inform him/her that he/she cannot register for the
elections, and it will be left to the discretion of the consular officer as to what should be done about the applicant's
passport with the assumed name.

Q. What shall an applicant submit if he/she cannot present a valid passport due to its loss or temporary
unavailability?(Type III applicants)
A. The applicant shall execute and submit an authenticated affidavit sufficiently describing the lost or unavailable
passport, attaching a photocopy of its relevant pages, if available; and stating the circumstances of the loss or the
reason/s for the temporary inability to produce the passport. The Post shall request the DFA (or concerned Post in case
the passport was alleged to have been issued by another Post) to verify the issuance of said passport, as part of the
process for the registration of such voter.
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Q. What is the procedure of application for qualified seafarer?


A. He/she may file his/her application with the representative of the Commission at the Philippine embassy, consulate
and other foreign service establishment having consular jurisdiction over the locality where his/her vessel is docked
during the registration period. In addition, a seafarer must also submit a photocopy of his/her Seaman's Book or any
other document that will prove that he/she is a seafarer.(08/18/2009)

(Source: DFA - OAV Secretariat)

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