Press Release
June 5, 2013

Senate approves amendment to include
Party List candidate in local absentee voting

The Senate today approved on third and final reading a bill which seeks to include the election of Party List representatives in the system of local absentee voting.

Sen. Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III, chairman of the Committee on Electoral Reforms and People's Participation and sponsor of Senate Bill 3387, said that under Section 12 of Republic Act 7166, otherwise known as the "Synchronized National and Local Elections and Electoral Reform Act, local absentee voting is specifically limited to the elections for president, vice-president and senators.

While Republic Act 7941, otherwise known as the "Party-List System Act," was enacted into law in 1995, Pimentel explained, Section 12 was never amended to include the Party List representative in the list of public officers to be elected under the local absentee voting.

Instead, he said, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) had issued a resolution to include the election of Party-List representatives in the local absentee voting.

"While it is correct, in principle, to allow absentee voters to elect for a Party-List representative since the Party List is voted at large, it is submitted that the same should have been done through an amendment of RA 7166 and not through a mere resolution of the Comelec," Pimentel stressed.

Local absentee voting refers to a system of voting whereby government officials and employees, including members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the Philippine National Police (PNP) and members of the media are allowed to vote for the national positions and party-list representatives in places other than their places of registration where they are assigned to perform election duties on election day as provided under Executive Order No. 157 and RA 7166. (PILAR S. MACROHON, PRIB)

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