The Philippines’ Commission on Elections (Comelec) has turned down a proposed postponement of the 2022 national elections scheduled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez made the assurance to the public that the 2022 elections will push through.
Call for postponement of elections
Pampanga Representative Mikey Arroyo on Thursday urged the Comelec to look at postponing the 2022 national elections, adding voters are afraid of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, Agusan del Norte Rep. Lawrence Fortun is pushing for a 3-day election as he asked the Comelec to give them a scenario on what the campaign and voting would look like during the pandemic.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr., meanwhile, criticized the proposal of Arroyo, saying, “You don’t cancel elections for any reason. That’s treason.”
Comelec’s position on postponement
Jimenez explained: “Sa amin sa Comelec, di namin gagawin ‘yan. Malinaw ang mandato ng Comelec at ‘yan ay ang magpa-conduct ng election (We at Comelec, we won’t postpone the elections. We have a clear mandate and that is to conduct elections).”
The Comelec spokesperson also pointed out: “Medyo ironic naman kung Comelec pa mismo ang magsasabi na huwag natin ituloy ang halalan (It would be ironic if the Comelec would be the one to ask for the elections’ postponement).”
Jimenez also mentioned that they are currently working with Congress to come up with alternative ways of voting as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect countries worldwide.
He emphasized that the national polls are mandated by the country’s constitution, which means that they cannot be easily changed.
“Di ‘yan katulad ng eleksyon sa barangay or SK (Sangguniang Kabataan). Iyan ay constitutional mandate so dapat sundin natin ang Constitution ([National elections] is different from the barangay and SK elections. It is a constitutional mandate so we need to follow the Constitution),” he said.
However, Jimenez said the Comelec is deliberating whether the national polls will be held for two or three days.