MANILA — Sen. Francis Tolentino said Thursday he would question before the Supreme Court the constitutionality of a provision in the Overseas Absentee Voting Act, which he said violates the "fundamental right to vote."
During the Senate's hearing of the Department of Labor and Employment's proposed 2021 budget, Tolentino asked Secretary Silvestre Bello III's opinion on the matter as the latter's agency handles affairs of overseas Filipino workers (OFW).
"There is a provision that they (OFW) should sign an affidavit that they should return home after 3 years and this is contrary to [the] fundamental right to vote," Tolentino said.
"Marami tayo mga kababayan sa America, sa Hawaii, Guam na papipirmahin na 'bumalik ka kaagad.' Eh, 'yung iba, kumukuha ng green card. 'Yung iba, talagang gustong magtrabaho nang matagalan," he said.
(We have many countrymen in America, Hawaii, Guam being asked to sign to return home right away. But others are getting a green card. Others want to work there for a long time.)
Bello said he was willing to co-sign Tolentino's petition.
Senators Franklin Drilon and Joel Villanueva also expressed support for Tolentino's initiative.