Allowed to voters in May 13 national elections, OAVs turned down in Oct. 28 barangay polls
When I was in Aparri to cast my vote during the barangay (village) elections, my elder brother Rogelio Tamayo Jr. and his wife Mary Anne De Mesa Tamayo told me that they were not allowed to vote by the Commission on Elections.
They showed me a copy of a Sept. 12, 2013 letter from the acting election officer of Aparri, Joseph Manansala. It stated thus: “Pursuant to the MEMORANDUM from Atty. Teopisto E. Elnas, Jr., Director IV, Election and Barangay Affairs Department (EBAD), COMELEC, Manila dated 05 September 2013 on the subject, ‘OAV Registered Voters,’ the pertinent paragraphs of which state: ‘Further, since there is no records (sic) that these voters filed applications for transfer of their registration from OAV registry to the local registry in Aparri, Cagayan as sanctioned in Resolution No. 9269 entitled ‘General Instruction for the Resumption of Continuing Registration/Certification of Qualified Overseas Absentee Voters [OAVs] for the May 13, 2013 National and Local Elections and Subsequent Election Thereafter’ they should remain as OAV voters and they should not be treated as active voters of Aparri, Cagayan.’”
On Sept. 16, my brother and his wife wrote a letter to Commissioner Lucenito Tagle, copy furnished Manansala, requesting that their names be cancelled as OAVs. They said that on record they were registered voters in the Philippines before they left in 2005 for Saipan as OFWs. However, when they were in Saipan, both were registered as OAVs. Both admitted they never exercised their right to vote while in Saipan.
When they came back, they found out that their names were still on the list of qualified voters in Aparri. That is why in the past barangay elections my brother was able to run as a barangay official. Both husband and wife even cast their votes during the May 2013 elections.
In their letter to Commissioner Tagle, they requested in earnest that they be allowed to vote during the barangay elections and in future elections. In fact, I personally followed it up with the Comelec’s Legal Department and I was told that the letter was already endorsed to the office of Commissioner Tagle.
To date, my brother and his wife have not received any reply from the Comelec or from Commissioner Tagle. As a consequence, both were not able to vote in the recently concluded barangay elections.
I wonder if Republic Act No. 6713 is being followed to the letter by government officials. Section 5 paragraph (a) thereof states: “All public officials and employees shall, within fifteen (15) working days from receipt thereof, respond to letters, telegrams or other means of communications sent by the public. The reply must contain the action taken on the request.”
My brother and his wife are aware of the provision of this law and both are disappointed since their letter was not acted upon favorably or unfavorably by the Comelec.
Is this how we now treat OFWs as the country’s new heroes, who are helping a lot our country’s economy to stay afloat and grow, by ignoring their pleas? A shame.
—REGINALD B. TAMAYO,
assistant city council secretary,
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