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Comelec extends period of filing intent to vote for almost 240,000 OAVs

The Commission on Elections has extended the deadline for filing a manifestation of intent to vote for overseas absentee voters (OAV) who did not vote in the last two elections from January 11 to the last day of voting for OAVs.

According to Comelec Resolution No. 9653, these overseas Filipinos—estimated to be 238,557 in number—are required to present themselves at the diplomatic post where they are registered and vote there.

This was a development from the Comelec’s ruling last year that registered OAVs who did not vote in the last two elections should submit their intent to vote by January 11 this year or be delisted from the National Registry of OAV (NROAV).

The resolution noted that only 40 out of the 238,557 overseas voters who failed to vote in the 2007 and 2010 elections were able to file their manifestation of intent to vote within the given period, which was moved from the original deadline of December 21 last year.

It also noted that there has been “a consistent clamor” to extend the filing period, based on consultation with various overseas Filipinos.

“The Commission hold the right of suffrage of every Filipino of the highest importance, hence there is a need to revisit the period given to registered overseas voters who failed to vote in the two successive elections to give them an opportunity to participate in the May 13, 2013 elections,” according to the resolution.

Republic Act 9189, or the Overseas Absentee Voting Act, states that the entries in the NROAV can only be amended “when the OAV’s name was ordered removed by the Commission … for his/her failure to exercise his/her right to vote under this Act for two consecutive national elections.” — Gian C. Geronimo/BM, GMA News