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Comelec extends voting hours in Jeddah; no plans yet on Riyadh


(Updated 6:52 p.m.) The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has extended the voting in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, by one hour but there is no plan of adding voting hours in Riyadh amid the possible delay in the start of the absentee voting there due to late arrival of ballot boxes.   In a post on his Twitter account, poll chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. said voting time for Jeddah will be from 8 in the morning to 6 in the evening daily “to compensate for the voting hours lost.”   “Please note that the start of the absentee voting in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia was moved to April 16, 2013, Tuesday,” he said.   For Riyadh, which has a similar problem with Jeddah, Brillantes said there are no additional voting hours yet.   “No. Ang haba na ng voting hours e, 30 days e. So matatanggalan lang kami ng dalawang araw,” Brillantes told reporters in an interview Friday.   He added they will make the necessary adjustments depending on the voters’ turnout.   Instead of April 13, the voting in Riyadh will most likely start on April 15 or 16 due to the delay in the entry of the ballot boxes, said Brillantes. The voting will be until May 13.   “Nagkaroon ng problema sa ballot boxes, sa entry. Na-delay 'yung paglabas ng ballot boxes sa Customs (ng Riyadh),” said Brillantes, adding he received the report from Commissioner Elias Yusoph who is supervising the OAV preparations there.   Earlier, the testing and sealing of the PCOS in Riyadh was reset also due to the delay in the release of the machines from the Saudi Customs.   In a notice dated April 8 and posted on the Comelec website, the Committee on Overseas Voting advised senatorial candidates, party-list organizations, political parties and accredited citizens' arms that the testing and sealing will be on April 10, 9 am in the Philippine Embassy, Umayyah Abu As Salat, Safarat Riyadh 11693, KSA.   “You may send your official watchers to observe the proceedings,” the committee said.   Riyadh, which has 53,396 registered overseas voters, is one of the posts which will have automated elections. Others are Hong Kong (83,118), Singapore (50,063 voters), Abu Dhabi (21,645), Dubai (55,842), Kuwait (30,468), and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia (30,238). - VVP/KBK GMA News