LONDON, England - Like the surveys conducted in the Philippines before the May 10 elections, presidential bets senators Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III and Manny Villar loom as the top choices of Filipinos in Europe.
Talk of politics and conducting mock polls appear to be the order of business for most Filipino organizations as they gear up for the Overseas Absentee Voting (OAV) starting April 10.
The OAV will be done through postal voting in countries of the European Union, except Northern Italy which will implement personal voting.
Italy has the most number of registered absentee voters with 23,435 and far second is the United Kingdom with only 8,552.
Europe has a total of 61,294 registered absentee voters.
At least 25 Filipino organizations in Italy's Tuscany region took part in mock elections, dubbed as "Lider mo, Iboto mo - Tinig sa Pagbabago".
Of the 500 votes counted, Aquino garnered the highest with 39%.
Villar finished 2nd with 25% and former president Joseph Estrada was 3rd with 20%.
For the vice-presidential race, Sen. Manuel “Mar” Roxas II was way ahead at 39% followed by Sen. Loren Legarda with 24%.
In a separate mock elections initiated by the Philippine Association of Royal Mail Employees in UK, Villar was first with 81 votes or 34% and Aquino placed 2nd with 73 votes or 34%.
Villar supporters count on the managerial experience of the Nacionalista Party standard bearer.
More than 200 members of the group took part in the mock polls in the UK.
In an outreach program conducted by the Philippine Embassy in Wales, ABS-CBN’s Balitang Europe conducted random interviews with Filipino workers on their choice for president.
The interviewed Filipino workers said they chose Aquino because he is credible and has no taint of corruption.
Some picked Sen. Richard “Dick” Gordon because of his proven track record while some prefer Bro. Eddie Villanueva claiming the country needs spiritual leadership.
Absentee voters in Europe may be small in number, but they wield a lot of influence on their relatives back home.