Bishops Conference of the Philippines Press Release
ABSENTEE VOTING BILL
Section 2, Article V of the Constitution states that
Congress shall provide a
system for securing the secrecy and sanctity of the ballot as well as a system for
absentee voting by qualified Filipinos abroad. In the name of the CBCP, ECMI
reiterates the Churchs support for any move to put to effect this constitutional
provision. It is unfortunate that this very day, both Congress and the Senate have
consistency denied this Constitutuional right.
The Philippine Migrants Rights Watch (PMRW) and ICMI conducted a survey among OFWs in Hong
Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Italy and Denmark. The 411 returned questionnaires provided some
indications on the OFWs percepcion of the absentee voting bill. The result
- 66% of the respondents said that OFWs should be allowed to vote for the simple reason
that voting is a right.
- 62% of the respondents said they would make time and go the Philippine Embassy or
Consulate to cast their vote.
- 58% of the respondents recognized that it would be difficult to vote without exposure to
the campaigning candidates.
- 53% of the respondents agreed that voting rights should be limited to national
- 48% of the respondents did not agreed that registration should not be conducted outside
- 36% of the respondents claimed to be aware of the Absentee Voting Bill.
Asias first and most unique democracy denies as constitutional rights to OFWs
The Philippines has the reputation of being the most uniquely dynamic democracy in Asia.
However, it continues to deny the exercise of this democratic right to the sector called
economic saviors of the country. Countries like Armenia, Australia, Bosnia,
Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Croatia, France, Germany, Great Britain, India, Indonesia,
Japan, Peru, Senegal, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, USA and Venezuela have
already grant their citizens this right.
The legislative freezer
Fourteen years have passed since the first clamor for the approval of the absentee voting.
HB 10720 and SB 1746 are two pieces of the legislation granting the modern day
heroes exercise their political right.
Several attempts in both lower and upper house of the legislature have been made to pass
the Absentee Voting Bill. The 11th Congress, in spite of the lobbying from all walks of
society, failed to pass the bill. The 11th Congress denied the OFWs their constitutional
right and ignored the results of the survey.
Why are legislators so afraid of this Bill? Are they honestly concerned about the possible
frauds if such bills be passed? The denial of constitutional rights should not be the
solution to solving electoral frauds. Electoral frauds should be sincerely faced and
solved not by refusing citizens their exercise of the right to vote. We hope and pray that
that the 12th Congress will desist from keep this Bill in the legislative freezer.
Appeal for urgent action:
We appeal to the senators and congressmen to treat the so-called modern heroes with
dignity as true and full citizens of the Asias most dynamic democracy.
We challenge President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to certify the absentee voting bill as
URGENT, treating it among the top priority bills of the 12th Congress.
We appeal to this pro-poor administration to defreeze this
legislative bill and truly recognize the economic saviors and the families
they have left behind.
Signed: BISHOP RAMON C. ARGUELLES, DD