Journal News Online : Comelec sees 200K more voters if sign-up extended

News & Interviews
25 September 2021

By Journal News Online

Less than 200,000 new voter registrants are expected to be listed in case the Commission on Elections (Comelec) decides to extend the voter registration.

“Right now, our expectation is we are probably going to get less than 200,000 more who have not registered yet,” Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said in a virtual briefing late Friday afternoon.

He said they have exceeded by one million their target new registrants of four million for the whole registration period.

“We exceeded our expectation of four million. We are now actually at five million,” he added.

Asked about the possibility of extending the registration in some areas only, Jimenez said a “granular extension” would be difficult.

“We will see. I think if we are going to have a solution it will be a system-wide solution,” he added.

The Comelec en banc is set to meet next week to discuss calls for an extension of the voter registration.

The Comelec is expected to come up with a decision on September 29, a day before the September 30 deadline of the nationwide voter registration.

Meanwhile, Comelec on Saturday assured that it is one with the government in ensuring the peaceful conduct of next year’s elections.

Jimenez said the poll body is in close coordination with the authorities in preparing for violence-free polls next year.

“The Comelec shares the President’s sentiment and would like to reassure the public that it works very closely with both the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police to ensure that the elections are free of violence,” Jimenez said in a statement.

He said in case such incidents occur, they are ready to put a place under its control, as provided by law.

“It should also be noted that, in those instances where violent incidents threaten the integrity of the elections, the poll body has the authority to take such steps as may be necessary to address the situation, including but not limited to the imposition of Comelec control on specific parts of the country,” Jimenez added.

At the same time, he said he believed that the message of President Rodrigo Duterte is a reminder for candidates in the May 2022 elections to promote peace.

“The President’s call for peaceful elections is a powerful reminder to all would-be candidates and their campaigns, to reject violence,” he said.

On Friday, Duterte called on Filipinos to do their part in ensuring that next year’s elections would be peaceful and violence-free.

He also warned that he may be forced to “use the might of the military” to ensure the orderly conduct of polls.

The filing of the certificate of candidacy by national and local candidates has been set from October 1 to 8.

On the other hand, the election period begins on Jan. 9, 2022, and will run until June 8, 2022, during which the Comelec would impose a gun ban where bearing, carrying, or transporting of firearms and other deadly weapons, unless authorized by the former, is not allowed. Philippine News Agency