Comelec says no to 'no elections' scenario

Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 04 2022 05:18 PM

MANILA - There is no reason to postpone the May 9, 2022 national and local elections, the Commission on Elections said Tuesday.

Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said moves to postpone the polls will not succeed, even though a petition for such that was filed by the National Coalition for Life and Democracy (NCLD) has yet to be resolved by the poll body.

“As far as I know, this has not been brought to the en banc yet,” Jimenez said, referring to the petition.

Filed on Dec. 10, 2021, the NCLD petition urged the poll body to move the polls to 2025 as it cited alleged breaches in COVID-19 protocols by aspirants who go about their “meet-and-greet” with supporters.

“Experience in recent months and the present situation demands continuing observance of health protocols particularly prohibition on social gatherings and overcrowding,” the petition stated.

The group said these engagements of “presidential, gubernatorial and mayoral candidates” have led to “open vote-buying, and in the process, placing the life, health and safety of the poor and innocent in grave jeopardy.”

The elections should be postponed, especially amid the detection of the “highly transmissible” omicron SARS-CoV-2 variant, and current officials, including Pres. Rodrigo Duterte, should be allowed to serve on hold-over capacity, the petition pleaded.

CONSTITUTIONAL MANDATE

Jimenez assured the public all election-related preparations are on full blast, and poll body officials are determined to lead the conduct of orderly, credible, and safe elections.

“The Comelec sees no reason to postpone the elections," he said. "They can file all of the petitions they want. As long as the Comelec doesn’t grant the request to delay the elections, then tuloy ang halalan, hindi tayo ma-de-delay."

(As long as the Comelec doesn't grant the request to delay the elections, then the polls will continue and will not be delayed.)

Every election season, it is “not surprising” for proposals to postpone the polls to crop up, Jimenez said.

“Of course, they want that to happen. And we’ve been warning about this from the beginning that there will be quarters (asking) to postpone the elections, that they will come up with excuses to make that happen. But it’s not going to happen," he said. "It’s not something that should even be considered.”

“Because if you want to postpone the elections, then what you want to do is to ignore the Constitution. How can you ignore the Constitution? All government authority basically emanates from the Constitution. And if you want the Constitution to be ignored simply because you want to stay in power, then you have a big, big problem.”

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