GMA News Online : Comelec: No alternative means of voting for COVID-19 patients

News & Interviews
17 September 2021

By HANA BORDEY | GMA News Online

Allowing COVID-19 patients to vote in person in Eleksyon 2022 was “never really on the table,” Commission on Elections (Comelec) spokesperson James Jimenez clarified on Friday.

He further disclosed that the poll body is not inclined to provide alternative means of voting for COVID-19 patients.

Jimenez made the statement after Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire earlier today warned against allowing COVID-19 patients to vote in person in the upcoming polls, citing the risk of further transmission of the coronavirus.

“We wish to reassure Usec. Vergeire that the COMELEC is fully cognizant of the risks - both to the patient and the public - associated with making a COVID positive person go out to vote,” he said.

“This being so, the idea of requiring such persons to leave their isolation facilities was never really on the table,” he added.

Jimenez explained that providing other means of voting for COVID-19 patients, who should stay in the quarantine facilities, are not covered by the law.

“As to the possibility of alternative means of voting, unfortunately these are not authorized by law and will not be employed on 9 May 2022,” he said.

The Comelec spokesperson said Vergeire’s concern might have arisen from Comelec’s previous statements about the isolation polling places (IPPs).

He explained that these IPPs are intended only for individuals exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms.

“To be clear, such IPPs are intended to serve persons who present symptoms upon their arrival at voting center on election day,” he said.

“While these persons may indeed turnout to be COVID positive, they will not be turned away automatically just because they are suspected to be potential cases. Instead, they will be directed to IPPs where they can vote away from the general public, with all the necessary precautions appropriate to their health condition,” he added.—LDF, GMA News