This website requires JavaScript.

Senate Seeks One-Month Extension Of Voter Registration

Senate Seeks One-Month Extension Of Voter Registration
Voters prepare registration documents at the Commission on Elections' office in Arroceros, Manila on Sept. 6, 2021. The Senate has approved a resolution urging the poll body to extend voter registration by at least one month or up to Oct. 31, 2021. Photo by KJ Rosales, The Philippine STAR

The Senate has passed a resolution urging the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to extend by at least a month the registration of voters for next year’s elections.

The Senate adopted Resolution 851 urging the Comelec to extend the deadline for voter registration from Sept. 30 to Oct. 31, 2021 during the hybrid plenary session on Tuesday night, Sept. 14.

Its proponent, Sen. Francis Pangilinan, sought the extension “to prevent voter disenfranchisement brought about by the COVID-19.”

The resolution was supported by Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri and Senators Imee Marcos and Risa Hontiveros.

Earlier this month, the House committee on suffrage and electoral reforms adopted Resolution 2128 of the Makabayan bloc, seeking to extend the deadline of voter registration.

During a hearing of the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee on the Automated Election System on Wednesday, Sept. 15.

Comelec Commissioner Marlon Casquejo assured lawmakers that he will try his best to ask his six other colleagues in the poll body to reconsider their decision against extending the Sept. 30 deadline for voter registration.

“We will bring this up to the Comelec en banc next week,” Casquejo said during a hearing of the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee on the Automated Election System on Wednesday, Sept. 15.

Marcos, along with House panel chair Dasmarinas City Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr., persuaded Casquejo to seek the poll body’s reconsideration to extend the voter registration deadline.

COC filing

A poll official also told Congress that the Comelec has set the acceptance of certificates of candidacy (COCs) at a hotel tent in Pasay City from Oct. 1 to 8.

“The filing of certificates of candidacy of national positions will be at the Sofitel, in one of its tents,” said Comelec Executive Director Bartolome Sinocruz Jr.

When asked by panel chair Marcos about the venue for “COVID-safe” filing of COCs, Sinocruz gave assurance that measures have been set up to prevent a possible super-spreader event.

“The doors will be open. There will be ventilation. That’s really a big space to be divided into a venue for filing for president, vice president, senators and party-list,” he said.

The rules on the campaign activities would be released by October, he added.

“For election day, the plan would be to hold a one-day election, subject to extension. That is the very reason why we are conducting a simulation of the elections on Sept. 19, 2020,” Sinocruz said.

PDL list-up?

Starting Thursday, Sept. 16, the Comelec will resume the conduct of special satellite registration in jail facilities or detention centers.

The Comelec said registration will only be conducted if there are at least 50 qualified persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) registrants and the jail facility or detention center has zero COVID-19 cases at least 14 days before the scheduled voters’ registration.

Under Comelec Resolution No. 10711, qualified special satellite registration registrants should be at least 18 years old on election day and must committed inside the jail facility or detention for at least six months immediately preceding election day.

Those formally charged for any crime and waiting or undergoing trial, serving a sentence of imprisonment of less than one year, or whose conviction is on appeal are also qualified to register.

However, PDLs who have been sentenced with final judgement to suffer imprisonment of not less than one year and those who have been adjudged by final judgement by a court or tribunal of having committed any crime involving disloyalty to the government, among others, are disqualified to register. – With Delon Porcalla, Robertzon Ramirez