Sunday, January 28, 2007

A very irate Francis Oca wrote me from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on the recent Commission on Elections ruling excluding OFWs there from the scope of postal voting.

Francis wrote:

Overseas Filipinos in the Kingdom, as well as those who have already retired, cannot believe this allegation. Many have argued that the postal system of Saudi Arabia is very much at par with, if not better than those of, leading countries in Europe and the Americas. They opine that if it were really the embassy officials who made the recommendation, they must have other reasons, but not because the postal system is unreliable.

If we look back at the amended Absentee Voting Law, we will note that the burden of responsibility in the implementation of Postal Voting lies heavier on the side of the Posts rather than the Comelec. The latter merely sends to the former the list of absentee voters and the corresponding number of ballots and election paraphernalia. After that, the Post is responsible in recording, receiving and taking custody of all outgoing ballots preparatory to their mailing to the voters, and all incoming mailed ballots. Given the limited manpower of our embassies, it is understandable if our embassy officials will shy away from this responsibility.

However, the framers of the Law were cognizant of this situation on the ground.

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