Senator Joel Villanueva said the government should explore options to make sure that Filipinos will still be able to exercise their right to vote amid lingering threats of COVID-19 transmission. 

JOEL9 - Senators talk about voting by mail as another election option
Sen. Joel Villanueva (Senate of the Philippines / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

Villanueva said this as proposals for mail-in voting cropped up anew following the elections in the United States.

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) said the Philippines could also make use of such a voting system in the 2022 national and local elections particularly for senior citizens, persons with disability and pregnant women in the wake of the COVID-19 threat.

“We see no problem in replicating successful election practices such as mail-in voting. Right now, mail-in voting is available for some overseas Filipinos under the Overseas Absentee Voting law,” Villanueva said in a text message when asked to comment on the matter.

“Yes, we should explore our options and ensure that we have sufficient infrastructure and the right mechanisms to enable Filipinos to exercise our right to vote,” he added.

Villanueva maintained, however, that it is “more important” to ensure the integrity of the country’s elections as employing the postal voting could also pave the way for electoral fraud.

“The benefits of mail-in voting come with serious consequences such as ballot tampering and other kinds of fraud. There should be enough safeguards to prevent electoral fraud,” he said.

Earlier on Monday, Senate President Vicente Sotto III expressed his opposition to the proposal, saying that it is the “easiest system of voting to cheat.”

Senator Panfilo Lacson also thumbed down the proposal.

“Voting by mail? Without a national ID system in place, only voting in person may be viable,” Lacson tweeted.

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