Comelec says 1st day of overseas voting 'peaceful, successful'

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 11 2022 07:47 PM

 Overseas Absentee Voting in Hong Kong is in full swing. Jefferson Mendoza
Overseas Absentee Voting in Hong Kong is in full swing. Jefferson Mendoza

MANILA — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Monday said the first day of overseas absentee voting was "generally peaceful" and "successful," save for some logistical issues.

"There are only a few na di nakapa- open ng polls because of some logistical issues... Generally peaceful naman siya, successful naman ang opening ng posts except for some issues na di maiwasan," said commissioner Marlon Casquejo, in charge of the Comelec's Office for Overseas Voting (OFOV).

Casquejo reported that out of the 92 posts overseas, 46 voted manually and 46 voted via automated election system. 

Only Islamabad, Pakistan, Timor Leste, and Shanghai, China failed to open the polls on Sunday, the start of the overseas voting period.

"Sa Islamabad nagkaroon ng issues with the release of election materials, doon po sa Pakistan sa Customs and it is expected to be released today. Meron tayong 564 overseas voters, ito po manual voting," Casquejo said.

"Sa Timor Leste, nagka-problema tayo sa flights from the Philippines going to Timor Leste so standby po yung officials ng DFA... Merong flight expected po this coming Thursday via Kula Lumpur going to Timor Leste. We also have 706 overseas voters there," Casquejo added.

"Sa Shanghai, mayroon lockdown doon so di makapag-mobilize yung mga tao... All the materials are in Shanghai but di pa nade-deliver sa ating posts because of the lockdown," he said. 

Casquejo also reported that voting could not start in Baghdad, Iraq, Tripoli, Islamabad, Afghanistan, and Ukraine because of security issues.

Casquejo also reported that in Wellington, New Zealand, Milan, Italy, and New York, voting already began even if the AES materials have not yet arrived because the ballots were already sent out via postal voting.

Meanwhile, commissioner George Garcia lauded the voting in Hong Kong.

“Ang ganda po ng nangyari sa Hong Kong... Sobrang dami ng tao, yung pagboto just the same, kitang kita niyo ang pagnanais ng mga Pilipino na makaboto outside ng bansa," Garcia said.

The poll body is set to increase the number of voting precincts in Hong Kong from 5 to 10 to boost their daily capacity.

“With the increase of 10 vote counting machines, kaya po 5,000 per day kahit sabay-sabay ang botente natin in Hong Kong,” Casquejo said.

Casquejo said polling centers are authorized to extend voting hours to cater to all those who have queued up for the day.

The poll body will also address concerns in Rome, Italy, where some voters had to cast their votes on the sidewalk.

“Kakausapin namin yung consul or head doon sa Rome to clarify maybe some issues regarding this one," Casquejo said

Overseas absentee voting runs from April 10 to May 9.