Palace rejects postponement of 2022 elections

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 25) — Malacañang dismissed the idea of postponing the 2022 polls because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a statement on Friday, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the Constitution is clear in requiring a national election every three years, done on the second Monday of May. The next general elections must be held on May 9, 2022, ahead of the end of President Rodrigo Duterte's six-year term by June 30 of that year.

“The national election is still two years away and we still have sufficient time to prepare,” Roque said. He said the country can learn from the United States, which is holding presidential polls in November. The US has recorded nearly seven million coronavirus infections – more than any country in the world.

“We must not use the existing global health crisis as a ground to cancel and reschedule the elections as this would not sit well with the public,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement on Friday.

During the Commission on Elections’ budget hearing at the House of Representatives on Thursday, Pampanga Rep. Mikey Arroyo asked the poll commissioner if there are plans to propose the postponement since the risk of infection will be high when the public goes out to vote.

Comelec Chairman Sheriff Abas said this has not been considered since election is a constitutional mandate. He said only the President and Congress can decide to delay the polls, which can be done by law.

Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III and other lawmakers strongly oppposed any possible attempt to reschedule the elections, saying it runs counter to provisions of the Constitution. Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said the only accepted reasons for the postponement of local polls include violence, terrorism, and the destruction of election paraphernalia.

READ: Call to postpone 2022 polls won't extend term of elected officials - Drilon

Comelec said it is looking into a longer voting period, as long as three days, to limit mass gatherings should the coronavirus last until 2022.