Comelec sees no need to postpone 2022 elections
This undated 2016 photo shows the Commission on Elections office at the Palacio del Gobernador in Intramuros, Manila. Bolando
Comelec sees no need to postpone 2022 elections
( - September 25, 2020 - 10:30am

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections said on Friday that it sees no need to postpone the 2022 national elections, as it is already preparing for a scenario where voting will happen in the middle of a pandemic.

Rep. Mikey Arroyo (Pampanga) on Thursday said that the polling body should consider pushing back the elections, citing his constituents’ fear of voting when there is a pandemic.

But the Comelec is already preparing for such scenario.

Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez, in an interview with Dobol B sa News TV, said the polling body is already preparing for a 2022 elections when there is still the COVID-19 pandemic. “As far as the Comelec is concerned, it is already given that by 2022, there is still a pandemic. That is the basis of our preparations,” Jimenez said in a mix of English and Filipino.

“At this point, we don’t see a need for it. We do not see the need for a postponement,” Jimenez said.

Comelec studying proposals

Jimenez said that the Comelec has been studying proposals for the next elections that may take place when there is still a health crisis. This includes expanding alternative voting methods and allowing online filing of Certificates of Candidacy to avoid crowding.

Safety protocols may also be enforced during voting such as wearing of face masks and shields, and strict physical distancing.

The spokesperson said they are also studying ways to avoid crowding in polling places, such as moving the voting to gymnasiums or covered courts instead of in small classrooms.

Jimenez also said they are looking into whether elections may be held in two to three days, instead of just one day.

Comelec is also seeking higher budget for the purchase of more voting machines to lower the number of voters per machine.

“Lahat po ito mga measures na, na short of postponement kasi nga sa amin, ang postponement ay atas po ng Constitution yan. Hindi ‘yan basta basta mapapalitan,” he added.

Former Comelec commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal on Thursday also said there is no reason to postpone the elections as he pointed out that other countries were able to hold voting with the pandemic.

He also wrote in a tweet: "Added to this, the term of office of ALL elected officials will end on June 30, 2022, as mandated by the 1987 Constitution. You CANNOT extend the term of office of elected officials.”  — Kristine Joy Patag

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