The Commission on Elections (Comelec) will likely extend the voters’ registration to Oct. 31, its spokesman James Jimenez said Tuesday.
“After consultation with Comelec officials, and in consideration of the public clamor, it is likely that an extension of the period of voter registration will be granted,” Jimenez said.
Last week, the poll body said it can only give a one-week extension limited to new registrants and voter reactivation after the Sept. 30 deadline.
He said the Comelec’s management committee earlier met and will decide on the recommendation of several lawmakers. The recommendation will be tackled by the en banc on Sept. 29, a day before the last day of voter registration under the original Comelec schedule.
Earlier, the Comelec rejected calls to extend the voter’s registration period, saying it will affect their preparations for the May 9, 2022 polls.
With two days before the deadline, the Comelec appealed to applicants to file their registration forms at all Office of the Election Officer (OEC) in the city or municipality where they intend to vote from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Mondays to Fridays.
Applicants may also file their registration forms at any satellite registration sites in their areas. The schedule of satellite registration activities may be viewed on the Comelec website, www.comelec.gov.ph.
Registrants must be at least 18 years of age on or before election day on May 9, 2022.
He or she must be a resident in the Philippines for at least one year and in the place where the applicant intends to vote for at least six months on or before election day.
Aside from applications for new registrants, local Comelec offices are also accepting applications for transfer and reactivation of voter records, and the change of name or correction of entries on record.
They also accept requests to include a person’s record in the book of voters and the reinstatement of a person’s name on the voter’s list.
The Comelec is expecting to register some 4 million new voters for next year’s polls.
The Palace, meanwhile, said there is no reason for President Rodrigo Duterte to veto a bill seeking to extend the voter registration period for 30 days.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque made this statement after both the Senate and House of Representatives passed a bill providing a month-long extension of voter registration.
“The document is not yet in Malacanang. But no obstacle to it is seen. Unless there’s a legal objection based on the studies of the legal department of the Office of the Executive Secretary,” he said.
“But in my opinion, there is no legal objection,” Roque added.
With voter registration sure to be extended to Oct. 31, Senator Imee Marcos expressed optimism that the number of voters in the 2022 elections could be the highest the country has ever seen despite the pandemic.
Marcos, who chairs the Senate committee on electoral reforms and people’s participation, lauded the swift action that the Comelec is taking to pass a resolution by Wednesday that will override the original deadline for voter registration due the next day.
“The more voters, the louder the voice of the people and of God in next year’s elections. Director Elnas (Teopisto Jr.) has confirmed that the commissioners en banc will get the resolution done tomorrow,” Marcos said.
More than 61 million new and returning voters have already registered, as of August, compared to the 61,843,771 who cast their votes in the 2019 national and local elections.
Due to time and logistical constraints compounded by the pandemic, the Comelec had hesitated to extend the voter registration period until the Senate approved a bill for that purpose on Tuesday.
Would-be voters continue to flock even before sunrise to Comelec’s satellite centers where limited daily slots for registration are being offered, in keeping with health and safety protocols.
Sen. Francis Pangilinan asked Comelec officials why the voter registration cannot be extended for another month when it was done during the 2013 and 2016 automated elections.
Besides, he said the Sept. 30 deadline was set before the declaration of state of health emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Because of the lockdown, registrations of new voters were withheld for six months.
Extending the registration to Oct. 31, Pangilinan said, would prevent the “mad rush” of new voters lining up in Comelec offices.
COMMENT DISCLAIMER: Reader comments posted on this Web site are not in any way endorsed by Manila Standard. Comments are views by manilastandard.net readers who exercise their right to free expression and they do not necessarily represent or reflect the position or viewpoint of manilastandard.net. While reserving this publication’s right to delete comments that are deemed offensive, indecent or inconsistent with Manila Standard editorial standards, Manila Standard may not be held liable for any false information posted by readers in this comments section.