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Pinoy Abroad

Filipina in Italy claims overseas voters filled ballots outside embassy; Comelec verifying claims

An overseas Filipina on Monday claimed that several overseas voters in Rome, Italy were not given a proper place inside the Philippine Embassy to fill out their Eleksyon 2022 ballots.

At a PDP-Laban press conference on Monday, Daisy Solomon, a leader of a non-government organization in Italy, presented videos and pictures of overseas Filipino voters completing their ballots on the sidewalk of a hospital across from the Philippine Embassy.

"Ang concern po namin dito ay 'yung mga bumoboto po ay walang place, wala po kaming place para fill up-an yung aming mga balota para po bumoto," Solomon, who attended the press conference virtually, said.

(Our concern is that the voters here have no place to fill out our ballots.)

"Pagkakuha po ng mga ballots nila, lumalabas po sila, tumatawid po sila sa daan at doon po sila nagsusulat ng kanilang mga iboboto. So hindi po yan nangyayari sa loob ng Philippine embassy...Bumoboto po sila sa daan, tumatawid po sila doon po sila bumooto din kung saan sila may place doon sa gilid ng hospital," she narrated.

(After receiving their ballots, they cross the street and that's where they write down their votes. This is not happening inside the Philippine Embassy. They are filling out their ballots on the sidewalk near the hospital.)

Solomon said tables and chairs were not provided by the Philippine Embassy to accommodate the Filipinos who wanted to vote in the 2022 national and local elections.

"Napakalaki po ng Philippine Embassy namin dito. Malaki, mayroon siyang place, mayroon siyang mga bakurang malaki. Ang hindi po namin maintindihan bakit po wala kaming place para table man lang kahit walang upuan para pagsulatan namin ng aming mga ballots, kasi doon po sa gilid ng Philippine embassy masyadong delikado doon dahil maliit po, makitid po ang daanan," she went on.

(We have a huge Philippine Embassy here. It is a huge area. We can't understand why they are not providing a place or even a table for the voters to fill up their ballots.)

Reacting to this concern, Comelec Commissioner Marlon Casquejo said they would verify the claims, first with the Philippine Embassy in Rome. Nevertheless, they would also advise election officers there to provide a secure space for the completion and casting of election ballots.

"Regarding this one, kakausapin namin yung consul or yung head doon sa Rome [Philippine Embassy] para to clarify maybe some issues regarding this one but we really have to talk to them kung ano talaga ang nangyari doon," Casquejo said at a press conference.

(Regarding this one, we will talk with the consul or the head of the Philippine Embassy in Rome to clarify some issues regarding the matter. But we have to talk to them to know what happened there.)

"Then maybe we can advise them that the shading of the ballots should be done in a secure place, not outside, even on the sidewalk or whatever. So tatawagan po (we will call) namin si Rome regarding this one," he added.

Overseas voting for Eleksyon 2022 started on April 10.

Filipino voters who applied for the overseas voting option can cast their ballots until May 9, 2022, or election day in the Philippines. — DVM, GMA News