MANILA - There's no reason to postpone the 2022 elections, Vice President Leni Robredo said Sunday, days after a lawmaker suggested to delay it due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Pampanga Rep. Mikey Arroyo, son of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, earlier proposed deferring the upcoming national polls due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) however said "there was no need" to shelve the elections as it was a constitutional mandate.
"Nagsalita na iyong Comelec na hindi ipo-postpone, kasi iyong pinaghahandaan nila ngayon, iyong pinaghahandaan nilang scenario, iyong 2022 may COVID pa din. So walang dahilan kung bakit kailangan i-postpone—at ipinakita ito ng ibang bansa. Ipinakita ng ibang bansa na tuloy iyong eleksyon kahit nasa gitna ng COVID," Robredo said in her weekly radio show, citing the upcoming elections of the US, South Korea, Norway, the Netherlands and New Zealand.
(The Comelec has spoken that they will not postpone, because that's what they've been preparing now, the scenario they're being ready for, is that 2022 will still have COVID infections. So there's really no reason to postpone it—and other countries have shown this. Other countries showed elections will still carry on even amid COVID.)
The Vice President noted the recent crowds at the dolomite beach in Manila Bay and the re-opening of Boracay island to tourists as a contradiction to Arroyo's statements that the public will be afraid to vote in 2022 due to COVID-19.
"Eh iyong pagbukas lang ng Manila Bay... kung kaya nang buksan iyong Manila Bay, bubuksan na din iyong Boracay, bubuksan iyong ibang tourism sites, walang dahilan, walang dahilan para i-postpone," she said.
(Just by the opening of Manila Bay... if Manila Bay was opened, and Boracay and other tourism sites will also be opened, there's no reason, there's no reason to postpone.)
An ex-poll chief earlier took a swipe at Arroyo's proposal, citing as an example the throngs at Manila Bay.
"If we can invite people to go to Roxas Boulevard to look at the dolomite and by Oct. 1, we’re already encouraging people to go to Boracay to take a vacation… why can’t we go to the voting center to vote on election day," former Comelec commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal said.