President Arroyo may have beaten her potential rivals to the draw by claiming that the absentee voting bill just passed by the House and the Senate is her gift to Filipino migrants. By enabling as many as 7.5 million Filipinos abroad to vote in Philippine elections, the bill could decide the outcome of the 2004 and future polls. But the OFW vote may not necessarily go Mrs. Arroyo

Prof. Luis V. Teodoro is a former dean of the University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication, where he used to teach journalism. He writes political commentary for BusinessWorld.

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