“Postponing the elections violates the Constitution, contravenes the principle of regularity in the conduct of an election, extends the terms of elected officials without being elected anew, and deprives the electorate of seeking accountability from elected officials through the ballot.”
Poll watchdog National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel) stressed this, saying it said that it is important to make sure that the 2022 elections will be conducted as scheduled – even during the time of pandemic – instead of postponing it.
“Elections are sacred. They are an expression of the people’s collective will through the ballot. Instead of postponing elections, let us all work together to make sure that they happen, even during a pandemic,” Namfrel added.
Namfrel’s pronouncement is in response to Pampanga 2nd District Rep. Mikey Arroyo who had floated during a House hearing about the possibility of postponing the 2022 elections due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Arroyo’s concern was deemed “reasonable” by Namfrel but it noted that preparations are currently being done by the Comelec and other stakeholders to “ensure free, fair, and safe” elections.
“The Comelec has already put in place some guidelines to make election processes, such as voters’ registration more efficient and safe, and it said that it is also trying to explore other ways to make sure that other processes in the election cycle would have the safety of stakeholders in mind,” the Namfrel said.
“The onus is now on the Comelec to prove that it can be done, to invite confidence from the public and from polling staff that they would not be exposed to infection if they go out to vote or do their poll duties in 2022,” it added.
Namfrel said that other Asian countries such as South Korea, Singapore, Sri Lanka, and Taiwan, have shown that it is possible to hold elections during this pandemic.
“The Philippines should learn from their experiences, and see what could be applied to our setting,” the group said.
Namfrel urged the public to uphold their constitutional rights.
“Concrete ways to show our commitment is to make sure that we are registered to vote, and to keep ourselves informed and educated on issues that could affect our right to vote,” it said.