By BUTCH FERNANDEZ | Business Mirror
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) stuck to its decision thumbing down lawmakers’ plea to extend voter registration in advance the May 9, 2022, national and local elections.
This was conveyed to lawmakers at Wednesday’s hearing of the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee on the Automated Election System as Commissioner Marlo Casquejo reaffirmed the poll body’s fixed no-extension stand.
Casquejo told lawmakers it was a unanimous Comelec en banc decision to stick to the upcoming September 30 deadline, effectively rejecting lawmaker’s proposal to extend voter registration by one more month, or until October 31.
According to the poll commissioner, the Comelec can no longer extend the deadline, as it would affect the poll body’s various preparations for the next elections in the midst of the pandemic.
Sen. Imee Marcos, however, wondered why poll body couldn’t extend the registration when the deadline was previously fixed in October, reminding that due to the pandemic, the ongoing registration was frequently suspended.
Marcos also pointed out that as of now, the Comelec itself said registered voters are counted at 61.9 million but the potential number of voters based on Philippine Statistics Authority data is 73 million or a difference of almost 12 million.
For his part, Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga wondered whether, at this time, the decision of the Comelec en banc could still be reconsidered.
Commissioner Casquejo, in turn, assured lawmakers he will bring up the matter at the upcoming en banc meeting of the poll body.