The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has suspended the conduct of all pending plebiscites so as not to derail the preparations for the May 2022 polls.
In Resolution No. 10716, the Comelec identified the five pending plebiscites as the following: plebiscite to ratify the division of Maguindanao into two provinces; plebiscite to ratify the conversion of the municipality of Calaca in the province of Batangas into a component city; plebiscite to ratify the conversion of the City of San Jose Del Monte into a highly urbanized city; plebiscite to ratify the creation of Barangay New Canaan into a regular and distinct barangay in the municipality of Alabel, Sarangani; and plebiscite to ratify the merging of Barangay District 1 to Barangay District 28 and renaming of Barangay 29 in Ormoc City.
“After due deliberation, so as not to derail the preparations for the May 9, 2022 National and Local Elections, the Commission En Banc, by virtue of the powers vested in it by the Constitution, the Omnibus Election Code, and other election laws hereby resolves to suspend the conduct of all plebiscites, and schedule the holding of said plebiscites within four months from the end of the election period for the May 9, 2022 National and Local Elections,” read the resolution.
“Considering the timeline laid above for the preparation for the 2022 NLE and the arduous preparations needed for its implementation, in order to concentrate all its resources in the preparation for the May 9, 2022 National and Local Elections, there is a need to set a cut-off date for the conduct of plebiscites,” it further read.
The Comelec said there are also other functions that require the exercise of both administrative and quasi-judicial powers of the Commission in relation to the conduct of the 2022 NLE such as but not limited to the resolution of petitions for registration as political party, petitions for registration for purposes of participating in party-list system and resolutions of petitions for disqualification or petitions to deny or cancel Certificates of Candidacy.
The poll body also explained that the process for the preparation for the plebiscite may take longer time in view of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
“A experienced in the last March 2021 Palawan plebiscite wherein the Commission took more than four months to complete the process, which include, among others, the procurement process, trainings of those who are going to serve as members of the Electoral Boards, logistical and other operational processes,” it said.