The budget of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) is in danger of being cut next year if it continues to ignore the appeal to extend voter registration by one month.
At the Senate session on Monday, the senators approved a concurrent resolution urging the Comelec to extend voter registration until the end of October instead of just September 30.
In previous elections, the senators said that voter registration lasted until October, so they could not understand why the commission did not want an extension on registration.
Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon’s suggestion, which was agreed upon by colleagues, in case the Comelec still refuses, is to cut its demanding budget for 2022.
“Would the Senate consider urging the subcommittee handling the Comelec budget to call the Comelec to a hearing this week and express this need to extend the registration under pain of their budget being slashed to the barest minimum? That’s part of a check and balance, if they refuse to exercise a discretion which is consistent with public interest, I think there is a valid point in denying them the appropriations of certain public funds when their very action would be contrary with the public interest,” he said.
“That is a welcome intervention in terms of urging and convincing and persuading the Comelec to allow for an extension,” said Senator Francis Pangilinan.
Comelec budget in 2022 threatened to be cut
The senators also agreed to pass a bill consisting of only one sentence and extending voter registration until October.
In this way, it is up to the president whether to sign the bill and decide according to the extension of voter registration.
On Friday, September 24, the Commission will face the Senate Finance Sub-Committee to defend their requested budget for next year.
The senators will use this opportunity to re-assert their voter registration extension proposal.
The Comelec had earlier asserted that it could no longer afford to extend voter registration as it would severely affect their preparations for the election, such as ballot printing and deployment of election supplies and equipment.
Instead, registration hours have been extended.