‘Ridiculous’: Calls to defer May polls not likely to fly–Comelec


THE Commission on Elections said a long-term postponement of the 2022 polls is unlikely to succeed for being unconstitutional. 

At a virtual news briefing on Monday, Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said attempts to reset the next elections to 2023 or 2025 are “ridiculous” as such will involve changing the Constitution. 

 “When you call for suspension of elections of this magnitude, nationwide and for at least a year, you’re basically saying ignore the Constitution,” Jimenez said. 

 To implement such a proposal, the Constitution needs to be amended and go through a plebiscite, he explained.

Another hindrance for such recommendation is the lack of any law to allow currently elected officials to extend their term beyond next year. 

 “Which means that if you suspend elections for 2023, then that means you have an entire year with no elected officials,” Jimenez said. 

 The poll official noted Comelec has the power to defer the conduct of an election, but usually in specific areas and only for a short time.  

“Comelec can suspend elections when conditions for free and fair elections don’t exist. Example, if there is a fire or flood [which destroyed] the ballots or if all of the teachers become infected with Covid-19 [novel coronavirus disease]. We can suspend elections but only while the reason exists,” Jimenez said. 

 Comelec issued the statement after the Coalition for Life and Democracy (NCLD) called for the deferment of the 2022 polls to a later year. 

 Jimenez said Comelec en banc could still take up the matter one it gets a formal petition on the matter, but he noted it has a low chance of being approved.

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