Comelec open to one-week extension of voter registration after COC filing
MANILA, Philippines — Instead of a one-month extension, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) is proposing to extend the voter registration period for just one week after the filing of the certificates of candidacy (COC) from October 1 to 8, an official said.
During Thursday’s Joint Congressional Oversight Committee on the Automated Election System (AES), Commissioner Marlon Casquejo said the poll body is aware of the pending bills in Congress seeking to extend the voter registration period until October 31.
The deadline set by the Comelec is on September 30.
“The En Banc has already ruled twice not to extend the registration…If that bill will be passed as a law, then we will comply,” Casquejo told lawmakers.
“But then again, our proposal is to give a one-week extension after the filing of the COC,” he added.
Cavite 4th District Representative Elpidio Barzaga Jr. suggested that the registration of voters be extended for two weeks.
“We will look into it now. But up to now, what we have agreed—it’s not yet open to the En Banc—but what we have agreed is one week,” Casquejo said in response.
Lawmakers were concerned about the possible disenfranchisement of eligible voters since many were struggling to register due to long lines in Comelec offices.
“Previously, talaga namang October ang deadline? Bakit iniklian pa ngayong panahon ng COVID na napakaraming lockdown?” asked Senator Imee Marcos, chairperson of the Senate electoral reforms committee.
(Previously, the registration deadlines were set in October. Why did you make the period of registration shorter in this time of COVID when there are a lot of lockdowns imposed?)
Casquejo reiterated the need to have an earlier deadline to make way for preparations amid the pandemic.
“We have an earlier deadline because of the preparations for pandemic…Majority of our preparations will be affected,” he said.
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