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CG rejects Bayan Muna reps’ claim of ‘chaotic’ overseas voting in HK

20 April 2022

By Daisy CL Mandap


The House Resolution called the first day of overseas voting in HK 'chaotic'

Consul General Raly Tejada has confirmed his online participation today in a House of Representatives inquiry into the alleged “chaotic and disorganized ” first day of overseas voting in Hong Kong and several overseas posts.

House Resolution No 2544 dated Apr 12 was filed by Bayan Muna representatives Ferdinand R. Gaite, Eufemia C. Cullamat and Carlos Isagani T. Zarate, and published in mainstream media in Manila on Monday.

In it, the authors said the Apr 10 opening of overseas voting for Filipinos in many places was “marred with confusion and met with concerns by overseas Filipino workers.”

It singled out Hong Kong as the place where thousands of workers were unable to vote on the first day because of inadequate vote counting machines (VCMs) and precincts, causing a long queue of voters. Instead of the previous 10 precincts, only five had been set up that day.

Further, the resolution cited a report from United Filipinos (Migrante) Hong Kong chair Dolores Balladares Pelaez saying that Congen Tejada had announced that only 3,000 people could cast their votes that day. As a result, only 3,285 were able to vote, said the motion.

This was followed by a statement released on Tuesday evening by Bayan Muna HK which Pelaez also chairs, where it was claimed that voter disenfranchisement continued in Hong Kong after two VCMs malfunctioned.

The police team leader asked CG to stop the queueing at 11:30am on the first day 

In response, a surprised Congen Tejada said, “On the contrary napakaayos natin and organized despite facing some challenges. I really feel for my staff who have been working so hard to ensure that we have a successful election."

Maging Filipino community sa Hong Kong super proud ako kasi di lang disiplinado kundi talagang matiisin sila kahit na gaano kahaba ang pila.” (I am also super proud of the Filipino community in Hong Kong because they are not only disciplined they have also been patient, even when the queues were long).

“And it shows in the record turnout.”

Indeed, given the strict pandemic controls being enforced by the police and the sorely inadequate VCMs commissioned for use in Hong Kong initially, the number of voters on each day has been high compared to recent overseas voting exercises.

For the past nine days of voting the daily turnout never dipped to below 1,000 and last Sunday peaked to more than 5,000, despite a queue that extended up to three kilometres away at one point.

A sparse crowd on Tuesday still resulted in a total turnout of nearly 1,300

Adding Tuesday’s tally of nearly 1,300 the total turnout so far should be well over 25,000. With three more Sundays to go plus a statutory holiday on May 1, this puts Hong Kong on track to match, if not exceed its 45,000 turnout in the last presidential election in 2016.

This is despite two of the additional five VCMs put in place starting Tuesday last week becoming totally unusable by Sunday. The voters assigned to the two affected precincts were still able to vote, though, even if the waiting time for them became much longer.


Thus, Congen Tejada said, “Wala namang disenfranchisement – lahat naman nakaboto. Wala akong narinig kahit isa sa ating Filcom na nagreklamo. Mostly ay masaya naman.”

(There was no disenfranchisement at all, everybody got to vote. Not one among our Filcom members complained. Most of them were happy).

He also reiterated that the Consulate had always insisted on getting no less than the 10 VCMs that had always been assigned to Hong Kong previously, especially since the total number of registered voters had swelled to a record 93,625 for this election.


However, Comelec initially determined that five were enough, based on their estimation that one machine could handle 20,000 ballots.

Never kaming nag request ng lesser number ng VCMs. Di namin balak pahirapan ang aming mga sarili at Filcom,” he said. (We never requested for a lesser number of VCMs. We do not wish to make things difficult for us and for the Filcom).

Even the back area of Bayanihan is occupied when there is an overflow from the crowd of voters

Earlier, Congen said he had already asked Comelec to send more VCMs to Hong Kong to replace those that have conked out, and maybe even have a spare or two on standby.

In her statement, Pelaez also complained of the Consulate’s recent practice of giving only ballpark figures for the daily turnout, saying it was not like an exit poll that could influence voters.


Pelaez said getting an accurate number each day could give the community a better idea of how many people are likely to have voted at the end of the exercise.

Congen Tejada did not dispute this, but reiterated that it was Comelec which instructed all overseas posts not to disclose the exact number of people who voted each day.

In the House resolution, the proponents also dealt with problems reported from places like Dubai where the first day of election resembled that of Hong Kong. People queued up for up to five hours to vote, and police reprimanded them for not keeping social distancing.


Relatively small matters like voters wearing campaign shirts inside the polling place and loud campaigning from places near precincts were also reported.

In Saudi Arabia, voters complained about not being given indelible ink on their fingers to indicate that they had voted while in many countries like Japan, the United States and Italy, the mailed ballots were all delayed.


Over in Shanghai, no voting could take place because of the citywide lockdown due to Covid, while in France the Philippine Embassy had reportedly shut down, depriving Filipinos living there of their right to vote.

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