Mikey Arroyo raises idea of postponing 2022 polls
Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star) - September 25, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The congressman-son of former president and speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo yesterday asked the Commission on Elections if it has entertained the possibility of cancelling the May 2022 presidential elections because of the pandemic.

House Deputy Majority Leader Mikey Arroyo of Pampanga told Comelec Chairman Sheriff Abas during the independent constitutional body’s budget hearing that such a scenario is not far-fetched, especially if no vaccine is available soon.

“Because I’ve been hearing in my district, the businessmen, the old people, they’re saying maybe they would not just vote because they’re scared to vote that day. That’s just food for thought Mr. chair. The Comelec may choose to answer that or not,” he said.

“I’ve been doing my share of reading about this pandemic and it seems that, assuming for the sake of argument that nothing goes wrong, the earliest the vaccine will be available in our country, for everybody, is probably September or October 2021,” Arroyo predicted.

October 2021 would be the period of the filing of certificates of candidacy.

Arroyo asked officials of the poll body if they have a Plan B should the pandemic linger.

“I’m not saying you should do it. Just consider it,” he said.

Abas admitted it never crossed their mind.

“We all know the election is a constitutional mandate,” he told lawmakers. “Congressman Arroyo’s comment is well taken. Rest assured that we will look into this.”

For his part, Comelec executive director Bartolome Sinocruz said the commission is now considering measures to ensure public safety during the elections, and that includes conducting the polls for two days.

“We’re looking at the idea of holding the elections not just in one day but for two days. Some precincts will vote on the first day, some precincts will vote on the second day,” Sinocruz said.

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