Media voting bill reaches Senate plenary-A A +A
Thursday, September 20, 2012
MANILA -- Senator Aquilino Pimentel III formally sponsored on the floor a bill, which if passed into law, would provide absentee voting for members of media organizations beginning in next year's midterm elections.
"What this bill intends to do is to assure that members of media, as citizens like us, are able to exercise their rights of suffrage even if they are assigned to cover election or other activities on election day away from the place where they are registered as voters," he said in his sponsorship speech for Senate Bill 1198.
Authored by Senator Manny Villar, the bill is the counterpart of House Bill 4241, which was sent to the Senate in August last year.
The House version grants a qualified member of the media to cast his/her vote within 14 working days preceding an election while the Senate counted 29 amendments to the original bill.
Last year, Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Sixto Brillantes said they are hoping that the measure would be approved as soon as possible so that the poll body will have more time to study how to implement it.
Pimentel identified the requirements for absentee voting as follows: the members of media are duly registered as voters; must be accredited by the Comelec as recommended by their media outfit; and that they may vote on the days fixed by the Comelec and in the city or municipality where their media outfit has established as its main or satellite office.
"The requirements should serve as a timely reminder that not all individuals who claim that they are media practitioners will automatically enjoy the right to vote as ordained in this bill," said Pimentel, chairperson of the committee on electoral reforms and people's participation.
Covered by the bill are media practitioners including technical and support staff, citing as example the camera crew members of a television outfit who will enjoy the same absentee voting rights given their anchor person or host. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)