No legal bar for now vs longer voter registration: Palace

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 28 2021 04:51 PM | Updated as of Sep 28 2021 06:18 PM

Members of Akbayan Youth and First Time Voters Network call on the House of Representatives for the swift passage of the Voters' Registration Extension Bill on Sept. 27, 2021, four days before the Commission on Elections' deadline for voter registration for the May 2022 polls. People have recently been camping out at COMELEC registration centers due to daily cutoffs.
Members of Akbayan Youth and First Time Voters Network call on the House of Representatives for the swift passage of the Voters' Registration Extension Bill on Sept. 27, 2021, four days before the Commission on Elections' deadline for voter registration for the May 2022 polls. People have recently been camping out at COMELEC registration centers due to daily cutoffs. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — Malacañang said on Tuesday it has yet to see any potential impediment to extending the voter's registration for the 2022 elections, after Congress proposed measures to push back its Sept. 30 deadline.

"Wala pong nakikitang hadlang, unless sa pag-aaral ng legal department ng Office of the Executive Secretary ay mayroong legal objection," said Palace spokesman Harry Roque. 
 
(There is no hurdle seen, unless a legal objection will be found in the study by the legal department of the Office of the Executive Secretary.)

"Pero sa tingin ko naman po, walang objection," Roque, a lawyer, said in a press briefing. 

(But I think there is no objection.)

However, he stressed the Palace has yet to receive signed copies of the bills. 

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Senate Bill 2408 seeks to extend the voter's registration until Oct. 31, while House Bill 10261 moves the deadline 30 days after the measure's effectivity once passed into law. 

The bills were approved by all senators and a 193-0-0 vote in the lower House, respectively, on Monday, following public clamor to extend the voter registration after it was disrupted by COVID-19 lockdowns for several months.

If there are no significant differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill, it can be sent to the President for signature which would effectively extend voters registration by a month.

Senate Majority Leader Miguel Zubiri, one of the bill's principal authors, said the measure is important for next year's elections, given some 12 million potential voters have not registered since they live in lockdown areas.

Speaker Lord Allan Velasco hailed the passage of the bill in the House as “a major step to prevent voter disenfranchisement."

"We hope the Comelec will use the one-month extension to ramp up voter registration and ensure that more people can vote next year because we cannot afford to disenfranchise voters," Velasco said.

"The right to vote in an election is one essential part of the democratic process, and Comelec is duty-bound to make sure that all eligible voters are able to register and exercise their right of suffrage," he added. 

— With reports from Joyce Balancio and RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News