Media absentee voting in the offing – Koko
SENATOR Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel assured members of media that they can vote in advance away from their places of registration in time for 2013 mid-term elections as the committee recommended the approval of Media Absentee Voting bill in the plenary.
In a statement, Pimentel said that the Senate Committee on Electoral Reforms and People’s Participation, as well as the Committee on Finance are set to recommend the approval with amendments of Senate Bill 1198, to be known as “The Absentee Voting for Media Act of 2012.”
Pimentel said that a Committee Report had already been prepared for signing by members of the Electoral Reforms and People’s Participation Committee which he chairs and the Finance Committee headed by Senator Franklin Drilon.
“It is imperative that this law is passed soonest so as to stop the disenfranchisement of the thousands of our friends in media who had been deprived of their right to vote in past elections because they were assigned to cover political exercises away from where they were registered as voters,” said Pimentel.
Introduced by Senator Manny Villar, SB 1198 provides for absentee voting by the members of the media who are away from the places of their registration by reason of official functions on Election Day. House Bill 4241 is SB 1198’s counterpart measure in the House of Representatives.
Pimentel counted 29 minor and major amendments by the committees to the original bill.
The bill covers “any registered voter who, by reason of his or her functions and duties as a member of media, including technical and support staff, is assigned on election day to a place other than his or her place of registration, may vote in the city or municipality where the office of the media is located.”
A petition had been lodged before the Comelec on behalf of media practitioners, asking the poll body to allow them to vote early in the 2013 elections.
Pimentel noted that even the Comelec had acknowledged the necessity of allowing members of media to vote early and away from their places of registration.
Under Executive Order 157 and Republic Act 7166, otherwise known as An Act Providing for Synchronized National and Local Elections and for Electoral Reforms, soldiers and policemen and other government officers and employees assigned to election duties are covered by local absentee voting.
Overseas Filipinos, on the other hand, are also allowed to vote while abroad under the Overseas Absentee Voting Act.