The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has rejected a proposal to postpone the 2022 national elections due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In an interview with DZMM Friday, Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez assured the public that it won’t postpone the elections.
“Sa amin sa Comelec, di namin gagawin ‘yan. Malinaw ang mandato ng Comelec at ‘yan ay ang magpa-conduct ng election (For our part in the Comelec, we won’t postpone the elections. Our mandate is clear and that is to conduct elections),” Jimenez said.
“Medyo ironic naman kung Comelec pa mismo ang magsasabi na huwag natin ituloy ang halalan (It would be ironic for the Comelec to be the one to call for the postponement of the elections),” he added.
Jimenez said the Comelec and Congress are thinking of creating alternative ways of voting as the world continues to face the COVID-19 pandemic.
He added that the national polls are set by the Constitution and therefore cannot be easily reset.
“Di ‘yan katulad ng eleksyon sa barangay or SK (Sangguniang Kabataan). Iyan ay constitutional mandate so dapat sundin natin ang Constitution (It’s not like the barangay and SK elections. The national polls is a constitutional mandate so we need to follow the Constitution),” he said.
Jimenez, meanwhile, said the Comelec is still studying whether the national polls will be conducted for two or three days.
Pampanga Rep. Mikey Arroyo had earlier asked the Comelec if it had ever thought of postponing the 2022 polls amid fears of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Has the fact, has the thought that you will postpone the elections, has that ever triggered in your minds?” Arroyo asked Comelec chairman Sheriff Abas during the House House Committee on Appropriations hearing on Thursday.
“Hindi po talaga (No, not really),” Abas answered, saying the national polls are a constitutional mandate.
“Ang sa akin lang po (For me), assuming for the sake of argument, it's a constitutional mandate kailangan by law i-postpone (that a law is needed to postpone it). Have you considered that the proposal must at least come from you and not from the members of Congress because if it comes from us, people might think that we have motives to extend our term, but it comes from Comelec…then perhaps people will consider it,” Arroyo replied.
Arroyo said based on what he has heard, people from his district are already expressing their hesitation to vote.
“I hope that that thought just lingered in their minds. I'm not saying to do it. Just consider it,” he added.
Rep. Edgar Erice, vice chairman of the House Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms, said he sees no reason to postpone the holding of the 2022 national elections.