Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said Monday that the Philippines is not ready for mail-in voting for the upcoming 2022 national and local elections.
“Our current system simply does not permit voting by mail as a process that will accurately reflect the will of the people,” Drilon said in an online interview.
“I am opposed to it at this time. We can look at it again in the future and see whether our system is already sufficient in terms of protecting the sanctity of the ballots,” he added.
Drilon noted that “rampant vote-buying and intimidation” are still observed in the country’s present electoral system where only personal voting is allowed.
“You can imagine the kinds of complaints we will get in voting by mail where it is difficult to monitor,” he said.
Drilon said he would remain firm on his position on mail-in voting even if Senator Imee Marcos proposed creating a postal voting system only for voters who are senior citizens, pregnant, persons with disabilities, or members of indigenous groups.
“Every vote counts,” he said.
Meanwhile, Marcos said mail-in voting is “not a completely alien notion” under Philippine laws as it is being practiced by overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
Drilon rejects idea of mail-in voting for 2022 elections
“Application forms for registration to vote and for registration to vote via post shall be made available for download in the Commission’s website and in all Barangay Halls,” the bill read.
Under Marcos’ proposal, Comelec would designate a Special Ballot Reception and Custody Group to facilitate the sending and receiving mail-in ballots.
Earlier in the day, Senate President Vicente Sotto III also contradicted mail-in voting.
“I’m not in favor. It’s the easiest system of voting to cheat,” Sotto said in a message when asked about adopting this system, which has also been used in the US elections.
“Sino tatanggap? Nationwide? Saan padadala, post office? Kailan bibilangin? Sino bibilang? Paano kung may mag-leak ng results, whether true or fake? Any of those procedures can be cheated!” he added.