Comelec's voters registration extension 14 days short of approved Congress bills

The House of Representatives will accept the Commission on Elections decision to extend the voter registration period for at least 16 days more but less than the 30 days that the legislative chamber has demanded.

This developed after Speaker Lord Allan Velasco welcomed the Comelec decision to extend the registration until October 31.

In an en banc resolution, the poll body agreed to add 16 more days of registration which will start on October 11 - over a week after the end of original deadline it imposed which is September 30.

Both the Lower House and the Senate approved on final reading on Monday, Sept. 27 identical bills that would direct the Comelec to add 30 days more of voters registration. The start of the extension will be on the day following the bill’s effectivity as a law.

A day after Congress approval of the bills, the Comelec agreed to grant an extension, thus saving it from an embarrassment of being ordered to do it.

The decision may have also saved the day for poll officials because the election agency’s 2022 budget o P26.97 billion has yet to be approved by Congress.

“We thank the Comelec for seeing the wisdom of extending the voter registration to allow more Filipinos to exercise their right of suffrage, which is one of the most important rights and responsibilities we have as citizens of the Philippines,” Velasco said in a statement.

Principally authored by Speaker Velasco, House Bill 10261 sets the deadline for voter registration to “30 days after the effectivity” of the proposed measure.

“Again, we hope the Comelec will use the extension to ramp up voter registration and ensure that more people can vote next year because we cannot afford to disenfranchise Filipino voters,” Velasco said.

The opposition also welcomed the Comelec decision which would allow registration from Mondays to Fridays starting October 11 from 9 am to 5 pm.

The only exemption will be on the last day, October 30, which falls on a Saturday.

Deputy Minority Leader and Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate today welcomed the decision of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) to extend voters' registration from October 9 to 31.

"It is good that the COMELEC has heeded the public clamor for an extension for voter's registration because as can be seen by the kilometric lines to Comelec booths for almost a week now, many of our countrymen are stiil unregistered,” he said.

"The long lines is also a testament that our countrymen want to exercise their right to vote and change the current incompetent administration. More registered voters will also be a safeguard if some unscrupulous groups may try to cheat in the elections by way of the reactivated voters in the past years," said the Davao-based solon.