By Leslie Ann Aquino
There is a possibility that the request to extend the voter registration period will not be granted.
Commission on Elections (COMELEC) Spokesperson James Jimenez cited a Supreme Court (SC) ruling which stressed that it was entirely within the powers of the commission to set the deadline of voter registration.
“The SC placed the registration process within the context of election preparations and concluded that the Comelec has sufficient authority to set the deadline, in view of the need to accomplish its mandate,” he said in an interview.
Jimenez also explained that the 120-day prohibited period for voter registration provided under the Voters Registration Act did not only refer to the actual filing of applications.
“Section 8 of Republic Act No. 8189 doesn’t actually refers to any deadline for voter registration periods, but only lays out the period during which no registration is allowed. The Court also outlined the various activities that comprise the ‘voter registration’ process, which extend beyond the mere filing of applications,” he said.
It is for this reason that Jimenez believes the request for extension would face “serious challenge.”
To note, the system of continuing registration of voters for purposes of the May 2019 midterm polls resumed July 2 and ended September 29.
A day before the deadline, the Comelec already announced that there will be no extension of the voter registration period.
However, the Kabataan party-list urged the poll body to extend the voter registration deadline to January 13, 2019.
Based on Republic Act No. 8189 “no registration shall be conducted during the period starting 120 days before a regular election”.