Philippine Consul General to Vancouver Maria Andrelita S. Austria met members of the media in a briefing on April 25 regarding overseas Filipino voting for the May 9 national election in the Philippines.
At the meeting, Austria said that the consulate general has one commitment to the Filipino community.
It is to be fair and transparent in safeguarding the ballot of all qualified voters.
These are Filipino citizens and dual Filipino and Canadian citizens registered to vote in the Vancouver consulate.
“We will count every single vote that comes,” Austria said during the briefing.
Austria maintained that the allegiance of the consulate general is to the Republic of the Philippines only.
At the briefing, the career diplomat explained the procedures taken by her office to ensure the sanctity of the ballot.
She outlined steps taken to prevent fraudulent voting.
Austria informed media at the April 25 briefing that 98 percent of ballots have been mailed.
The remaining percentage has been put in the care of the consulate general for qualified voters to pick up.
Austria also briefed media about the protocol for media coverage of the May 9 election.
She explained that based on a resolution by the Commission on Elections, the display of ballots showing the actual vote is prohibited.
Austria also reminde voters not to display their filled up ballot on social media, saying this is technically an electoral offence.
There are 1.69 million Filipinos across the globe who are registered to vote in the 2022 elections.
Overseas or absentee voting started on April 10 and will run to May 9.
Meanwhile, Philippine Ambassador to Canada Rodolfo Robles denied on April 26 that there is a pre-shaded ballot distributed among overseas Filipinos in Canada.
Robles shared that he received a complaint from a Filipino in Vancouver, saying that the person’s ballot is pre-shaded.
However, Robles said that it was impossible as the complaint was made on the same day the ballots were just mailed from Ottawa, adding that the earliest time the ballot could be received is at two days.
“Nung April 13 at 4 p.m., alas-4 ng hapon, ay ini-mail ‘yung balotang ‘yun. Pero sabi po ng nag-complain, nung araw na ‘yun din po ay na-receive na niya,” he recalled on TeleRadyo’s On the Spot.
(On April 13 at 4 p.m., the ballot was mailed. But the complainant said that he/she received the ballot the same day.)
“So, paniwala po namin imposible ‘yun kasi it takes the post office to distribute it to the areas according to the address. So, hindi po pwedeng matanggap on the same day, especially alas-4 na ng hapon po,” he continued.
(So, we believe that it is impossible because it takes the post office to distribute it to the areas according to the address. So, it cannot be received on the same day, especially since it was mailed at 4 p.m.)
Robles said that the incident could be considered a “poisoned pill.”
“So, kaya sabi ko sa akin pong imbestigasyon, consider it what you call a poisoned pill. Nakakasira sa sistema ng botohan,” he pointed out.
(So, I said in my investigation, consider it what you call a poisoned pill. It destroys the electoral system.)
Of the 1.6 million registered overseas Filipino voters, 90,000 are in Canada.
Robles is expecting that more Filipinos will cast their votes for this year’s polls than the 2016 presidential elections which had a 28.62-percent voting turnout.
Overseas voters may only vote for president, vice president, 12 senators, and a party list group.