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Comelec to implement online voting sans supporting law

THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Thursday said that it will implement the Online Voting and Counting System in next year's midterm elections, with or without a supporting legislation.

«We will proceed with internet voting at all costs, law or no law,» Comelec Chairman George Erwin Garcia said, adding that the commission en banc arrived at the decision after studying the possible implications of canceling the plan.

The Comelec en banc approved the use of the internet as an alternative mode of voting for overseas Filipino workers last year.

Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman George Erwin Garcia. PHOTO BY J. GERARD SEGUIA

Comelec spokesman John Rex Laudiangco said that, based on existing laws, it was evident that Congress was cognizant of the commission's expertise and knowledge on the matter.

«As Chairman George Erwin Garcia stated, with the additional authority granted to the commission under Republic Act 10590 vis-a-vis its stronger implementing authority, it can be assumed that the Congress has yielded to the expertise and knowledge of the commission in understanding the peculiarities attendant to the overseas voting process, to the extent that Congress no longer required prior approval in the form of legislation in order for the commission to promulgate rules and regularities and consequently, implement other means of overseas voting that are more reliable, secure and efficient,» added Laudiangco.

Garcia said Comelec spent more than P400 million for overseas voting during the May 9, 2022 elections, but the voters' turnout was only 39 percent, even much lower than previous elections.


«Spending P411 million (for overseas voting) but resulting in a dismal 39 percent turnout is not value for money, so to speak. Why are not so many overseas Filipinos voting personally or by mail? Maybe they need another mode,» he said, adding that 2022 overseas voting turnout was by far the highest since overseas voting was implemented.

During the 2022 elections, there were around P1.7 million registered migrant voters spread across 92 Philippine posts around the world.

At present, overseas voters cast their votes either by mail or personally at a