Pangilinan calls to extend voter reg, COMELEC “not closing doors” on extension
Sen. Francis Pangilinan asked the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) on Thursday, Februray 18, to consider extending the voter registration period.
Pangilinan urged COMELEC to accommodate 15 million eligible voters who are unregistered.
“Ano ba naman ang 30 days or 45 days extension? I think COMELEC should consider an extension given that 15 million qualified voters are not registered,” he said during a public hearing of the Senate Committee on Electoral Reforms and People’s Participation.
The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) estimates there will be 73 million qualified voters by the 2022 elections. Meanwhile, COMELEC puts the registered voters at 58 million.
“Malaking bagay po ito dahil tandaan po natin nung May 2016 elections, for the president, 16 million ang botante na bumoto kay Presidente Duterte. So, yung 15 million na ito ay hindi birong numero ito. The presidency, the composition of the Senate, the composition of the House can very well depend if we are able to register or not more of those not registered,” Pangilinan said.
COMELEC ‘not closing their doors’
Responding to Pangilinan’s suggestion, COMELEC Commissioner Marlon Casquejo said that they are “not closing their doors” but it will be a “very, very tight schedule” for them.
“We are not closing doors. What I am saying is it will be a very, very tight schedule for us in our timeline. […] But again, we will look into that situation,” he said.
Pangilinan had filed Senate Resolution No. 639 directing the senate committee to conduct an inquiry, in aid of legislation, on the slow progress of voter registration and the preparedness of the COMELEC to conduct the 2022 National and Local Elections during the COVID-19 pandemic.
4 million new voters expected
For the 2022 elections, the poll body targets 4 million new voters, but as of February 4, only 1.3 million have applied.
Meanwhile, COMELEC Spokesperson James Jimenez previously said that there are 7 million voters who have been deactivated. COMELEC expects that 3 million voters would apply for reactivation; however, only 700,000 have applied for reactivation.
Pangilinan said that COMELEC must also address the reactivation of these voters.
Voter registration is from Tuesdays to Saturdays, including holidays, from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM.