The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday junked a petition to extend voters registration for next year’s elections.
The SC en banc dismissed a petition filed by youth leaders led by Kabataan party-list Rep. Terry Ridon for lack of merit.
It also ruled to deny the application for preliminary mandatory injunction and/or temporary restraining order.
“The court resolved to dismiss the petition and deny the application for preliminary mandatory injunction and/or temporary restraining order, both for lack of merit.”
According to the 15-man tribunal, it should give credence to the argument of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) “that the 120 days is not the reckoning point for determining the last day for filing of applications for registration because the law providing for the 120/90 day periods only determines when registration is no longer allowed. It does not mandate that the period for registration should be up to that time.”
Further, the SC also agreed with the Comelec “that it is allowed to lengthen that 120 and 90 day periods of “no registration” on account of administrative necessities and other exigencies.”
It said once the registration is extended, it will affect the timeline of the Comelec in holding the May 2016 polls.
“The court noted that there are certain pre-election acts that are dependent upon the completion of registration and that requiring the Comelec to extend the period for filing applications for registration will gravely affect its rigid and strict timeline. Major changes in the Comelec’s timeline for filing applications can no longer be permitted at this point without jeopardizing the entire preparation for the 2016 elections.”
In addition, it noted that the “Comelec has given voters sufficient time to file their applications for registration [from May 6, 2014 to October 31, 2015]but these voters failed to do so for causes not attributable to the Comelec.”
The petitioners asked the SC to nullify and declare as unconstitutional Comelec Resolution 9853, dated February 19, 2014, and Resolution 9981, dated August 28, 2015, both of which set the deadline of application for voters registration on October 31.
Kabataan argued that voters registration should be extended up to January 8, 2016, by stating that the Comelec-prescribed deadline is “more than two months earlier than is prescribed by Republic Act (RA) 8189 or The Voters Registration Act of 1996.”
With this, the petitioners said Comelec committed grave abuse of discretion in handing down both issuances, adding that these are “null and void” because they are a clear usurpation of the legislative power of Congress.