A PETITION to extend the voters' registration overseas was filed by a group of Filipino absentee voters Friday.

Lawyer Jose Amor Amorado through representative lawyer Loida Nicolas Lewis, who is the chair emeritus of the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (Naffa), asked the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to extend the registration for another 28 days.

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“What we’re asking is only the exact application of the law that we should have had 28 days more (to vote),” said Lewis.

Filipinos working abroad were given until August 31, 2009 to register with the Philippine Consulates in their areas. The petition stated that the absentee voters' registration should have lasted until September 28.

Lewis said Rodel Rodis, founder of US Pinoys for Noy and Mar, “agitated to file the case” before the poll body.

Lewis added that Comelec would need not spend a single peso if the motion is granted.

But for Commissioner Armando Velasco who heads the overseas absentee voting (OAV), the poll body would have a hard time adjusting if the motion is granted.

“There is no more time even if we do it manually because we’re now preparing the mail packets. Even the printing of ballots, were starting to work with it because these will be sent worldwide. Mahirap iimplement in case maapprove," said Velasco.

Comelec has already released as early as December the list of qualified overseas voters that totaled to 589,830.

Velasco said he will be addressing the petition to the en banc for further review on Monday. The en banc will determine if the petition still calls for a hearing or it may already decide based on the petition.

If the petition is denied, Lewis said they intend to take the case up to the Supreme Court (SC) just like what Kabataan party-list Representative Mong Palatino did in the extension of voters' registration last December.

Lewis hopes that the poll body will be able to decide on the matter as early as next week and begin the 28-day extension immediately, which she is targeting to end on Valentine’s Day, February 14.

“Give it to us a valentine’s gift, registration up to February 14... A valentine’s gift for all the work you do and the pride you have for being a Filipino," Lewis said. “I know in the end that Comelec (officials) are Filipinos by heart. I am optimistic they will grant our request.”

Voting overseas is scheduled on April 10, a month before the elections will be held here in the country. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)