No-shows mark absentee voting; poll chief picks 9

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EARLY VOTING Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. and Commissioner Grace Padaca show the ink on their index fingers after they cast their votes on the second day of the three-day local absentee voting period for the May 13 midterm elections at the Comelec office in Intramuros, Manila, on Monday. NIÑO JESUS ORBETA

Although only 12 Senate seats are at stake in next month’s midterm elections, Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. listed down the names of 23 candidates.

Then he cut down the list to 12 names to match the vacancies in the Senate.

But when his turn to vote early came on Monday, Brillantes voted for only nine candidates.

“What happened?” reporters asked him at Comelec headquarters.

“I wasn’t convinced about their qualifications,” Brillantes said, referring to the three candidates he had stricken off his list.

As for the nine he voted for, he said he knew them personally.

Of the nine candidates who won the election chief’s nod, three belonged to the administration Team PNoy, three to the opposition United Nationalist Alliance, and three were independent candidates.

He did not disclose their names. He voted for a party list, but also did not say which of the more than 130 party-list groups it was.

Having performed his civic duty, Brillantes reminded voters registered for the absentee balloting that they have only until Tuesday to vote.

Among the absentee voters are 575 journalists who registered to vote early, as they will be assigned to far-flung places on Election Day, May 13.

Fifty-five journalists voted on Sunday, the start of the three-day absentee balloting.

Not voting

But neither absentee voter nor registered voter is the Comelec’s press officer, James Jimenez, who admitted last week that he had been “deactivated.”

That means he did not vote in the last two elections—in 2010 and in 2007.

To be able to vote again, Jimenez must register with the Comelec, from where he has been so busy advising voters on election matters that he had forgotten to handle his own electoral affairs.

Brillantes said he was disappointed with the turnout at the absentee voting for journalists.

“Didn’t election lawyer Romulo Macalintal, who represented the media in petitioning the Comelec to allow absentee voting for journalists, say that about 500,000 people from the industry would benefit from the privilege?

“So why did only 575 register for it, and when the big day came, only 55 voted?

“Well, maybe more will come to vote today,” Brillantes said.

“You know how it is with Filipinos, they scramble at the last minute,” he added.

Until this year, only government officials and employees, teachers, policemen and soldiers assigned to faraway places on Election Day were allowed to vote early.

After arguing for years that they, too, should be allowed to vote early, journalists finally managed to lobby for the privilege this year. And won it.

Whether the rest of the 575 who signed up to vote early will turn up and cast ballots on Tuesday will not be known until Wednesday.

Comelec records showed that only 12,732 voters registered for local absentee voting for this year’s elections.

The figure is lower than the 30,000 recorded for the May 2010 elections.

Reports said 355 policemen in Eastern Visayas cast absentee ballots on Monday.

Senior Supt. Roel Acidre, chief of the Police Community Relations Office in Eastern Visayas, said 283 of the early voters were from the Regional Public Safety Battalion based in Capoocan town, Leyte province.

The rest were from other police offices in the region.

Disappointing turnout

Election officer Danilo Cullo said absentee voting was held in four places in Davao City but the turnout was disappointing.

Cullo said 13 journalists cast absentee ballots.

He could not say how many other absentee voters came to vote. He said only a few came because most voters preferred to vote on Election Day.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) reported that 1,643 more Filipinos in Saudi Arabia have cast overseas absentee ballots for the May 13 elections, bringing to 5,289 the total of early ballots cast in the Middle East kingdom since early balloting started a week ago.

The Comelec listed the Middle East (281,372) as the region with the highest number of overseas absentee voters worldwide, followed by Asia (228,309), Americas (125,604) and Europe (75,666).

A total of 26,808 seafarers have also cast overseas absentee votes, the Comelec said.—With reports from Jerry E. Esplanada in Manila; Joey Gabieta, Inquirer Visayas; and Germelina Lacorte, Inquirer Mindanao

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  • Concur_Dissent

    Media natin talagang pa starring lang talaga. It seems that they prefer to be the story rather than the story teller… imagine years of noisy lobbying to be included in the “prestigeous” absentee voting elites only to finally have a measly 50 people availing of this special privelege? Media is part of the Philippines problems as much as the corrupt people in our society… case in point, Tulfo……

  • Simplify1

    Well, what do you know! The cry baby brilliantes doesn’t want to play politics by being politically correct! Imagine the backlash if he actually said that he voted for more Team Pinoy candidates than UNA candidates? Baka umiyak nanaman yan dahil sa backlash kung nagkataon…

    If this cry baby wanted to impress upon us his independence and objectivity, dapat hindi na nya sinabi kung papano siya bumoto…. mabuti pa alalay mong si jimenez, mas magandang bola sa tao na wala siyang pinapanigan, hindi daw siya bumoboto talaga…. Although it only shows that he is not an example of an ideal citizen by not exercising his right of suffrage…pangit pa rin pala hehehehe

  • Maldi2

    Isang malaking sampal ang pagpili ng 3 senators lang ni Brillantes sa Pnoy Team. Kudos to you Brlllantes! I have chosen only 2 from among the candidates of Team Pinoy!

    • speaksoftlylove

      Ako, I have chosen 12 from Team Malisya…

      to junk once and for all.

      • boldyak

        just make sure Malaysians did not vote…lol

  • speaksoftlylove

    Siyam ang binoto ni Brilliant?

    “I wasn’t convinced of their qualifications” daw sabi niya kaya 9 lang ang binoto niya. Mang Sixto, aminin mo na kanalig ka ni Mike Velarde. White Movement sympathizer ka rin?

  • etomacq

    kahit ako wala mapili kahit isa sa mga Senate candidtes.. puro mga basura… pero for sure wala kahit isa sa penoy team ang iboboto ko.

  • Milesaway

    Ay naku maniwala ako sa sinabi mo Mr. Brillantes, ang totoo nyan vote straight ka sa 12 LP para matuloy ang dream mo maging Ambassador sa Europe.. sabi mo lang 9 lang at mix pa sila para ipakita nasa neutral ka! well, masabi ko lang style mo bulok!

    • catherine sien

      style din po ninyo bulok at mapanghusga kayo.

  • Ako_Hiking

    Only 3 Aquino candidates did Brilantes vote for? Oh Mr. Aquino will not be happy with him. Aquino wants 12-0. He’s been campaigning and seemingly abandoning everything else to make sure his candidates win. But then again Brillantes may not be happy with Aquino lately since all of the last minute appointments by the President to the Comelec.

    • Ulipur

      For sure Sixto did not vote for Cayetano….But he voted for Jack Enrile, the son of JPE Sr., the bosom friend of the Chief Commissioner..

      • Ako_Hiking

        Who he voted for is not a big deal…what is a big deal is the problems they are having with the faulty PCOS machines. The Comelec keeps talking about other issues but fails to address and fix the main issue which is those machines missing the source codes.

      • catherine sien

        do not make presumptions please. faulty PCOS machines? maghintay lang po tayo bago tayo mag husga.

      • Ako_Hiking

        Wait? Wait for what? The actual elections?So what…we’ll wait till they fail on May 13 and then time to panic? The comelec and the Administration should take of issues before it becomes problems.

  • mewo_meow

    ibig sabihin wala ng ganang bumoto ang mga tao. even overseas absentee voting dapat scrap na yan.

  • kilabot

    journalists just write and talk,
    they’re not doers;
    they’re epal like pols.

  • josh_alexei

    The Commissioners are not Prohibited to Vote? Where is the Perception of Neutrality? Goddam..what is the 6 votes against the perception of biases? And not only perception but if they are voting for a paticular candidate or candidates, they could be campaigning for the same candidates…aren’t they…and here is why.

    .The following persons are not entitled to vote at an election:(a) the Chief Electoral Officer;

    (b) the Assistant Chief Electoral Officer; and

    (c) every person who is imprisoned in a correctional institution serving a sentence of two years or more.

    .

  • buttones

    There is a remarkable comparison in features, between Captain Brilliant and the erstwhile UN guy, one Kofi Annan , are they in anyway related? I think we have a right to know,,,,

  • buttones

    Yet another government official sticking his fingers in my face, I have enough on with Abigail and her LP tribe, and not only that it is the third finger that should be raised and stuck in my face= yes I get the message ….Captain Brilliant, I got the message ‘boy’.

  • speaksoftlylove

    Suggestion to Sixto:

    Mas maganda siguro sa middle finger ilagay yang tinta pagkatapos ng boto next time para cute idisplay sa media.

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