Pimentel wants inclusion of partylists in local absentee voting

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Despite times constraint, Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III still wanted to amend the “Synchronized National and Local Elections and Electoral Reforms Act” to include party-list representatives in the list of those who can be elected in local absentee voting.

At present, the law covers only the elections for President, Vice President and senators. And based on legislative calendar, there are three session days left before Congress takes a four-month break for the May 2013 mid-term elections.

“While it is correct, in principle, to allow local absentee voters to elect Party-List Representatives since they are voted at large, it is submitted that the same should have been done through an amendment of R.A. 7166 and not through a resolution of the Comelec,” Pimentel said.

Senate Bill No. 3387 seeks to amend Section 12 of  Republic Act No. 7166, or the “Synchronized National and Local Elections and Electoral Reforms Act”, to include a party-list representative in the list of those who can be elected by members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police and other government officers and employees who are duly registered voters and who, on election day, may temporarily be assigned in connection with the performance of election duties to places where they are not registered voters.

“Without any amendment being made on Section 12 of R.A. 7166, the Commission on Elections included Party-List Representatives among the positions to be voted for under the local absentee voting,” Pimentel said.

Executive Order No. 157 was the first piece of legislation that provided for a system of local absentee voting. Under the EO, Section 7 provided that for the purpose of the 1987 Congressional Election, absentee voting would only be applied to the elections for Senator.

In 1991, Section 12 of Republic Act No. 7166 expanded the coverage of E.O. 157 by including the positions of President and Vice-President in the positions to be voted for under the local absentee voting.

In 1995, Republic Act No. 7941, otherwise known as the “Party-List System Act”, was enacted into law, paving the way for the first Party-List Elections in 1998.

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