All systems go for absentee voting: Comelec

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 04 2022 03:32 PM | Updated as of Apr 04 2022 06:58 PM

Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Saidamen Pangarungan (right) and commissioner George Garcia inspect the work at the assembly line of Vote Counting Machines (VCMs) at their warehouse in Sta. Rosa Laguna on March 14, 2022. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News
Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Saidamen Pangarungan (right) and commissioner George Garcia inspect the work at the assembly line of Vote Counting Machines (VCMs) at their warehouse in Sta. Rosa Laguna on March 14, 2022. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA (UPDATE)-- The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is ready for the start of absentee voting for overseas and local absentee voters for the 2022 national and local elections, Commissioner George Erwin Garcia said Monday. 

Local absentee voting is for persons deprived of liberty, members of the media, and uniformed personnel who will be working on election day, May 9. It is scheduled on April 27, 28 and 29.

Garcia said on ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo that the poll body has approved the application of 84,221 local absentee voters, while that of 9,346 others was disapproved for various reasons.

Overseas absentee voting, meanwhile, is for Filipinos who are dual citizens or who are working abroad at the time of the election. Some can vote in their consulates or embassies or by post. It will begin on April 10 and will last until May 9.

"[Kahit] anong oras po sa bansa kung nasaan sila, alas-8 po sa April 10, sila po ay makakaboto na," Garcia said in a separate interview.

"Makakatanggap na rin kayo ng mga balota mula sa koreo kung ang pinili ng OAV ay sa pamamagitan ng matatangap nila sa mail," he added.

There are 1,697,215 registered overseas voters for the May 2022 elections, according to the ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group, based on data obtained from the Comelec.

Nearly half of them are in the Middle East.

Meanwhile, Garcia explained that the dispatch of automated election system supplies from its Sta. Rosa warehouse last week had to happen at midnight so that the container vans can meet the schedule of ship departures.

“Kasi nga po, pagka isang container van ay isasakay sa barko, yan po ay kalimitan binabyahe ng madaling araw... Bakit? Madaling araw din kasi pag-alis ng barko. 'Di pwedeng mahuli,” he said.

The first supplies to be dispatched were for the Bangsamoro region. The Comelec dispatches supplies meant for the farthest places first. These will then be sent to regional hubs where they will await final deployment on a date closer to the elections. 

No official ballots for the 2022 elections have been shipped yet. Although the Comelec and the National Printing Office finished the printing of ballots last weekend, some 300,000 ballots are still up for verification and quarantine. 

So far, there are 178,000 defective ballots. These will be destroyed on a date to be announced by the poll body so the public can observe them. Defective ballots will be replaced by the correct ones ahead of the polls.

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