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Comelec drops Affidavit of Intent to Return requirement for overseas voters

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has dropped the "affidavit of intent" rule for overseas absentee voters following the amendment to Overseas Absentee Voting law that President Benigno Aquino III signed recently.

Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez in a statement Monday said the amendment would “allow countless Filipino immigrants to participate in Philippine elections.”

He said the affidavit of intent rule has prevented absentee voters from exercising their right to vote.

According to the statement, Aquino signed Republic Act No. 10590, which amended the current OAV law Republic Act No. 9189.

Under Section 5-d of the old OAV law, a registrant is required to submit an Affidavit of Intent to Return, which states that one will return to the Philippines to take up permanent residence not later than three years after the approval of registration as an OAV.

Voters who failed to file the affidavit will be removed from the National Registry of Absentee Voters.

An Office for Overseas Voting will be established following the law's amendment, the statement said. — Marc Jayson Cayabyab/KBK, GMA News