Press Release
September 19, 2012


Senator Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III, PDP Laban President, sought today to enhance media's right to suffrage by sponsoring a bill which, if passed into law, would provide absentee voting for members of media organizations.

As chair of the Senate Committee on Electoral Reforms and People's Participation, Pimentel urged the Senate plenary to consider for passage Senate Bill 1198 under Committee Report No. 313.

Said Pimentel in his sponsorship speech: "What this bill intends to do is to assure that members of media, as citizens like us, are able to exercise their rights of suffrage even if they are assigned to cover election or other activities on election day away from the place where they are registered as voters.

"But they must comply with certain requirements set out in the bill before they may exercise that right. Otherwise, we might just be opening a Pandora's box where any Pedro or Paulo could claim the right as his or hers."

Pimentel identified the requirements as follows: 1) that said members of media are duly registered as voters; 2) must be accredited by the Commission on Election as recommended by their media outfit; and 3) that they may vote on the days fixed by the Comelec and in the city or municipality where their media outfit has established as its main or satellite office.

"The requirements should serve as a timely reminder that not all individuals who claim that they are media practitioners will automatically enjoy the right to vote as ordained in this bill," said Pimentel.

He added that media practitioners covered by the bill include their technical and support staff, citing as example the camera crew members of a TV outfit who will enjoy the same absentee voting rights given their anchor person or TV host.

Pimentel noted that others sectors of society have already benefited from the laws on absentee voting-Republic Act 7166 for members of the police, military and other government officials, and RA 9189 for overseas Filipinos.

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