MANILA - The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is eyeing a fresh voter registration period as the barangay polls set next year may be postponed with Senate's approval to defer the exercise to 2022.
"Pag-aaralan na ngayon 'yung posibleng pagbubukas ng panibagong registration period nang mas maaga dahil mukhang wala tayong poproblemahing barangay elections next year," Comelec Spokesperson James Jimenez said.
(We are studying possibly opening a new registration period earlier because it looks like we won't have to prepare for barangay elections next year.)
The latest round of voter registration ended on Monday, with many still complaining of failing to make it to the cut off.
In a phone interview on DZMM radio Tuesday morning, Jimenez said they anticipated the move and so did not go full blast with preparations for the supposed polls.
"Ito na nga mayroon na tayong Senate version, hinihintay na lang natin 'yung House. After that mapirmahan ng pangulo 'yung batas na magpapaliban sa barangay elections," Jimenez said.
(We already have the Senate version, we're awaiting the House version. After that, the President will sign the law deferring the barangay elections.)
The Senate on Monday approved on final reading Senate Bill No. 1043 seeking to postpone the Barangay and SK elections to Dec. 5, 2022.
The elections were supposed to be held on May 11, 2020.
Under the proposed measure, following the December 2022 local polls, the next synchronized barangay and SK elections shall be held on the first Monday of December 2025 and every three years thereafter.
The last barangay elections were held in May 2018 by virtue of a law signed by President Rodrigo Duterte postponing the October 2017 polls.
If the bill is enacted into law, there will be two elections in 2022: the presidential elections in May and the synchronized barangay and SK elections seven months later.
"Kailangan talaga tayong magbukas ng registration para sa mga darating pang mga halalan partikular 'yung ating local and national election sa 2022," Jimenez said.
(We really have to open a new round of registration for the coming elections particularly our local and national elections in 2022.)
Jimenez said applicants for voter registration has reached over 2.5 million.
"Hindi ko alam kung nag-increase pa kahapon, makikita natin 'yan (I don't know if it increased yesterday, we will see that) in a couple of days. At this point, we are already more than 2.5 million applicants," he said.
Jimenez urged those who missed the deadline to wait for a few more weeks for another registration period.
He appealed to the public to take the opportunity right away to register and not wait for the last day.