AT LEAST seven senators are urging the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to move the deadline for voter registration from September 30 to October 31.
Senators Francis Pangilinan, Ralph Recto, Franklin Drilon, Nancy Binay, Leila de Lima, Risa Hontiveros, and Joel Villanueva filed a Senate Resolution pushing for the voter registration extension.
The senators said the one-month extension would prevent the disenfranchisement of voters who have yet to register due to the imposition of strict lockdowns in Metro Manila and other areas of the country.
The lawmakers added voter registration has been suspended for over five months because of the pandemic, with longer suspensions in areas placed under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) and modified ECQ.
Based on the information from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) on the country’s voting population, about 13.3 million potential voters are still not registered for next year’s elections.
Comelec, the senators said, may not have anticipated the COVID-19 pandemic when it set the September 30 deadline for the 2022 registration.
They added that the Comelec, as the Supreme Court (SC) had acknowledged, has the prerogative to set the deadline of voter registration but not within the 120-day period before the elections.
“While it is important for Comelec to have enough time to prepare the final list of voters…a one-month extension will not delay Comelec’s preparation,” said the senators.
The Comelec, they appealed, “must make the necessary adjustments to allow more unregistered potential voters to register.”