Highlight: They have been warned, and yet some Overseas Absentee Voters (OAVs) still took selfies with their ballots, prompting the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to investigate at least nine voters who committed this election offense.
According to Jane Valeza, Comelec director for overseas absentee voting, the nine voters who took ballot selfies come from Singapore, Dubai in UAE, Hong Kong, Brunei, Vientiane in Laos, and Madrid in Spain.
Comelec Commissioner Arthur Lim already spoke on jurisdiction on ballot selfie-takers overseas on Wednesday, April 27.
“We will have these investigated by our law department to determine whether there is probable cause, to determine whether we have jurisdiction, although offhand, I can say to you that our embassies and consulates are extensions of Philippine territory,” said Lim.
Lim heads the Comelec office for overseas absentee voting.
Anyone found guilty of committing an election offense such as taking selfies with a ballot could face up to six years of jail time.
Lim explained how ballot selfies can be used for vote buying, hence they are strictly prohibited.
“Bakit bawal? Dahil makikita kung kanino ka bumoto. E bakit mo ipapakita kung kanino ka bumoto? May usapan ka ba diyan sa labas na iboto mo dapat si Juan o si Pedro o si Mario?” said Lim.
(Why is it not permitted? Because people will see whom you voted for. Why would you need to show anyone whom you voted for? Do you have a deal with someone outside that you must vote for Juan or Pedro or Mario?)
According to the Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon, as of April 30, three weeks into the overseas voting period, a record-breaking 230,000 Filipino voters have already cast their vote.