MANILA - The Makabayan bloc of lawmakers has urged the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to extend to January the deadline for the registration of voters for the 2019 midterm elections.
Lawmakers Sarah Elago, Carlos Zarate, Emmi de Jesus, Antonio Tinio, Arlene Brosas, France Castro and Ariel Casilao filed House Resolution No. 2168 urging Comelec to extend the registration to January 13, 2019 from September 29 of this year.
The lawmakers argued that extending the voter registration deadline would benefit first time voters, students who could not go home to their places of registration because of the shift in academic year.
“The implication of their calendar shift is that their semestral break starts by December, which is beyond the voters’ registration period yet the most convenient time for most of the first-time student-voters to register, most especially for those who permanently reside in other provinces," they said.
The lawmakers pointed out that universities that have subscribed to the academic calendar shift were mostly schools that have the largest student population such as the University of the Philippines System, Ateneo de Manila University, De La Salle University, University of Santo Tomas, Saint Louis University and University of Baguio.
The bloc cited Republic Act No. 8189 or the Voters Registration Act of 1996, which states that: "No registration shall, however, be conducted during the period starting one hundred twenty (120) days before a regular election and ninety (90) days before a special election."
The lawmakers also cited jurisprudence.
“The Court in Palatino v. Comelec found no ground to hold that the mandate of continuing voter registration cannot be reasonably held within the period provided by RA 8189, Sec. 8 daily during office hours, except during the period starting 120 days before the May 10, 2010 regular elections," they said.