Drilon to DFA, Comelec: Explain low overseas votes

Sen Franklin Drilon demands an explanation of the low turnout of overseas Filipino voters at 15.35%

TARGETING VOTERS. Overseas voting flyers sent to Filipinos abroad. Image courtesy of DFA

MANILA, Philippines – Why did so few overseas absentee voters participate in the 2013 midterm elections?

This is the question Sen Franklin Drilon, the campaign manager of the administration’s coalition Team PNoy, posed to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

Drilon was also one of the principal sponsors of Republic Act No 9189, or the Overseas Absentee Voting Act enacted in February 2003.

“I hate to sound like a broken record, but I again deplore the dismal implementation of the absentee voting law in the just-concluded midterm elections,” Drilon said in a statement.

He said he wants to know why, despite an increased budget allocated to Comelec and DFA, the May 2013 polls had even fewer overseas voters — a low turnout of 15.35%.

Of the 737,759 registered overseas voters, only 113,209 actually cast their ballots, according to Drilon.

Drilon said the turnout was even less than the “already low” 26% turnout in the 2010 presidential elections, which is “getting more and more disappointing.”

“It seems that less and less Filipinos abroad are inclined to exercise their right to vote, contrary to the intention of Congress when this law was enacted,” he said.

Over P1000 per voter

In April, Comelec predicted 60% of overseas voters would participate in the polls.

Comelec received P105-M from the 2013 national budget, while the DFA was granted P43-M to implement the absentee voting law and “influence the result of the election by electing qualified leaders,” Drilon said.

But the turnout of only 113,209 overseas Filipinos means each absentee vote costs P1,310 per vote.

“This is outrageous. I wonder how the Comelec and the DFA can justify these numbers,” Drilon said. –

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