THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) will resume the registration of voters as soon as President Rodrigo Duterte has signed an amendatory law postponing the barangay (village) and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK or Youth Council) elections until next year.
Chairman Juan Andres Bautista on Friday said the voter’s registration process is mandated by law, subject to certain exceptions.
Section 8 of Republic Act (RA) 8189 or The Voter’s Registration Act of 1996 provides for the system of continuing registration of voters.
It states, “The personal filing of application of registration of voters shall be conducted daily in the office of the Election Officer during regular office hours. No registration shall, however, be conducted during the period starting one hundred twenty (120) days before a regular election and ninety (90) days before a special election.”
Bautista explained that the intent of the law is to give qualified Filipinos the opportunity to register and exercise his right to suffrage.
Around 54 million voters registered for the May 2016 national and local elections, while another 3,095,187 registered during the 15-day (July 15 to 30) voter’s registration for the barangay and SK polls.
Bautista said there is still no timeline for the registration period as they are still waiting for further developments on the postponement of the October 31 elections.
[The Comelec is neutral on the issue, we are ready if it pushes through, if not then we will have more time for the preparations],” he added.
The House of Representatives will tackle a proposed bill seeking the postponement of the village and youth polls next week.
Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, the measure’s main proponent, has assured the passage of the bill, which, he said, is also expected to be passed in toto by the Senate so that it would not pass through the bilateral conference committee any more.
WILLIAM B. DEPASUPIL