JEDDAH—A few issues were experienced during the start of overseas absentee voting in Saudi Arabia Saturday.
Some Filipino workers in Jeddah said they had a hard time finding their names on the voters’ list posted at the embassy premises.
“Natagalan po ako doon sa pag-search ko ng name ko doon kasi ’yung nakasulat dito na numero hindi po parehas sa nakasulat doon,” said Wilson Delosa.
Joselito Cave Carbon also complained: “Tapos pagdating mo doon, wala po doon. Anong masasabi mo doon sa nangyari? Sayang ang boto.”
Leviticus Dela Torre noticed that the spelling of his surname was wrong. “’Yong orientation is different, ’yong spelling ‘d’, space ‘l’, space ‘Torre.’ So far I’m glad nakaboto rin.”
Poll watchers further observed the broken seal of a box that contains one of the vote counting machines. But the consulate general assured there was no cause for alarm.
“The machine itself and all the parts and components were intact, walang tampering,” said Consul General Edgar Badajos.
“And in fact, ang ginawa kahapon, the same machine na kung saan may na-open na seal, as per the requirements of COMELEC, tinesting iyan kung walang problema, and then after the testing ni-reset to zero, pero ini-seal uli. Walang problema iyon.
“’Yung pagkapunit siguro ay maaring sa Manila siguro iyon bago ittinansport, and then they forgot to reseal it, ganon lang iyon. We were not at all bothered.”
In other parts of Middle East, the voting went on without glitches.
For the first time, Filipinos in Oman used the vote-counting machine to cast their ballots after 19,616 have registered.
Despite the early morning rain in Doha, Qatar, Filipinos still flocked to the embassy to vote. There are 45,548 registered overseas voters there.
The Middle East and African Region have the highest number of overseas voters totaling 887,744 that can spell out a big difference on the results of the 2019 midterm elections.
Overseas Filipinos can cast their votes until May 13 at the Philippine embassy or consulate that they have registered in.—With reports from Maxxy Santiago, Rowen Soldevilla (Oman), Charles Tabbu (Jeddah), and Kimina Castro (Qatar)