A former commissioner of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said on Friday that the postponement of the 2022 national polls is “impossible.”
Gregorio “Goyo” Larrazabal, in an interview with ANC, said all proposals to halt the 2022 elections should just be “thrown out of the window.”
“Forget about cancelling elections. That’s not gonna happen, never. Unless the world ends tomorrow, we’ll have elections on May 9, 2022,” he said.
Larrazabal said the COVID-19 pandemic fear is not a “substantial reason” why people can’t vote in elections.
“My God. If we can invite people to go to Roxas Boulevard to look at the dolomites and we can, by October 1, we are already encouraging people to go to Boracay to take a vacation, if we can go to Boracay for vacation, why can’t we go to the voting center to vote on election day?” the former Comelec commissioner said.
“Priorities. We need to focus on what we need to do. If people can go to the banks and make a deposit, they can go to the malls, why can’t they vote on election day?” he added.
Larrazabal also said that over 40 countries worldwide were able to hold elections this year amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic like South Korea, Russia, and Singapore.
“Under the circumstances we are in now, it doesn’t make sense that the election is over a year from now and we’re already talking about postponement,” he said.
Larrazabal said that what should be discussed now are the necessary steps to be taken to ensure safe elections in 2022.
He added that no government office can cancel elections.
“Not the President, not Congress, not anybody, not any agency in the government can cancel elections” he said.
“The only way an election can be canceled is through a constitutional amendment which has to be ratified by a plebiscite. You have to have elections to cancel elections. It doesn’t make sense di ba (right)?” he added.
When asked about the proposed two to three-day election period, Larrazabal said it could be a “good concept,” but its “procedure” should be properly established since it can “open doors to threats and intimidation against the electoral board.”
“How do you operationalize it? How do you make it as transparent as possible so that people will not only believe in the system but the perception is that it is credible,” he said.
Larrazabal suggested decongesting polling precincts, fast tracking the passage of the bill allowing the eldery to vote by mail, and bringing in the stakeholders.