President Benigno Aquino III has signed into law a consolidated bill amending the Overseas Absentee Voting Act of 2003, allowing more overseas Filipinos worldwide to cast their votes in Philippine elections. The Chief Executive signed last May 27 the Republic Act 10590 (An Act Amending Republic Act 9189, Entitled “An Act Providing for a System of Overseas Absentee Voting by Qualified Citizens of the Philippines Abroad, Appropriating Funds Therefor and for Other Purposes.”) The Act otherwise known as “The Overseas Voting Act of 2013” is a consolidation of Senate Bill 3312 and House Bill 6542. The Senate and the House of Representatives passed the consolidated measure on February 5, 2013 and February 6, 2013, respectively.
The amendment to RA 9189 will provide easier access to overseas Filipinos through field and mobile registration centers.
Under the law, overseas Filipino voters may file their application personally at any post abroad or at designated registration centers outside the post or in the Philippines, as approved by the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
All applicants shall submit themselves for live capture of their biometrics while the Comelec shall issue an overseas voter identification card to qualified voters.
With the passage of the law, overseas Filipino voters, who are not disqualified by law and at least 18 years of age on the day of elections, may be allowed to cast their votes not only in presidential and midterm elections, but in all national referenda and plebiscites as well.
The new law allows those who have reacquired or retained their Philippine citizenship under RA 9225, otherwise known as the Citizenship Retention and Reacquisition Act of 2003 to cast their votes.