By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora
MANILA – Over 1,000 Filipinos in the United States have voiced their support for the Philippine Consulate General in New York, which has been criticized for the delayed mailing of election materials.
Filipino community leader Dr. Crispin Fernandez, who was among those who initiated a manifesto, said they lament the attempt by other Filipinos to “put into doubt the impartiality” of the Consulate and the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
Prior to the start of overseas absentee voting on April 10, some Filipinos expressed concern over the delays and “general lack of timely information on the voting process,” noting that they are shaping up as a form of voter disenfranchisement. The Consulate has since addressed the concern.
Fernandez said the accusations are “especially egregious because of the friction they create and the division they foment among Filipino kababayans.”
“We reject their insinuations that the Philippine Consulate General and the Comelec are conspiring to intentionally and purposefully deny overseas Filipinos the right to vote,” he said in an April 29 statement.
Fernandez said the 1,038 Filipinos, most of whom are from New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania, vow to respect and support the next elected Filipino president.
“We, the members of the Filipino Community in the Northeast United States, join our kababayan in the Philippines and other parts of the world in praying for the fair, transparent, credible, and peaceful conduct of the 2022 national elections in the Philippines that many of us will be participating in as overseas voters,” the manifesto read.
“The next president will be the President for all Filipinos. And the next President will need us to work together, to give each other every opportunity, and most of all, to see in each of our kababayan our collective wants and needs; our country’s hopes, dreams; and its aspirations for a rightful place among nations,” it further read.
Filipino community leader Juliet Payabyab, also one of those who signed the document, said Filipinos in the US Northeast stand behind the Consulate’s efforts to ensure the credible and transparent conduct of the 2022 national polls. (PNA)