GMA News Online : Comelec urges Congress to reconsider budget cut threat

24 September 2021

By GMA News Online

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Friday urged Congress to consider the public amid the proposal to cut the poll body's budget should it refuse to heed calls to extend the voter registration period.

Interviewed on Unang Balita, Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said cutting the budget would not only affect the Comelec but also the people.

"Sana makita nila na yung ganyang mga klaseng panukala eh hindi lang naman Comelec ang maaapektauhan niyan kundi pati taumbayan," Jimenez said.

(I hope they'll see that that kind of proposal will affect not only the Comelec but also the public.)

"It's not about Comelec not getting money, it's about people not having elections kung sakali kasi nga na ayaw nilang pondohan [if ever they pushed through with the budget cut]."

On Monday, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon proposed to cut Comelec's budget should it refuse to heed the call of the chamber to extend the voter registration period.

He likewise proposed to pass a one-sentence bill which seeks to extend the deadline for voter registration from September 30, 2021 to October 31, 2021.

Jimenez said extending the voter registration period would drastically affect the poll body's timeline for the 2022 elections.

"Kung iuurong yan, naku, andaming gagalaw na timeline, kasama na riyan yung paghahanda ng balota mismo [If there will be an extension, the timeline would be drastically affected]," he said.

As a compromise, Jimenez is open to one- or two-week extension.

"We'll see what we can do," he said.

At a hearing by the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee on Automated Election System on Thursday, Comelec Commissioner Marlon Casquejo said they are open to a one-week extension after the filing of certificates of candidacy from October 1 to 8. — KBK/RSJ, GMA News