Business World

Senators urge poll body to extend voter registrati­on

- — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan

SENATORS on Monday adopted a concurrent resolution urging the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to extend voter registrati­on for another month until Oct. 31.

“I don’t think one month would undermine their preparatio­ns or would risk the deadline that they have set,” said Senator Francis “Kiko” N. Pangilinan told a plenary hearing.

Many Filipino voters have yet to register for the elections next year because of the coronaviru­s pandemic, said Senator Juan Miguel F. Zubiri, who cosponsore­d Senate Concurrent Resolution 17. “We need more time so that the registrant­s can be spaced out and accommodat­ed safely and properly.”

The House of Representa­tives on Monday also adopted a substitute resolution urging the election body to extend the voter registrati­on deadline to Oct. 31.

Senators also agreed to pass a bill that will extend the voter registrati­on in case Comelec ignores their plea. Unlike a bill, a resolution does not have the force of law once approved.

Senator Franklin M. Drilon also proposed to discuss their proposed extension with elections officials this week. “If they refuse to exercise a discretion which is consistent with public interest, I think that is a valid point in denying them the appropriat­ion of certain public funds,” he said.

Senator Risa N. Hontiveros-Baraquel, who will soon be defending the Comelec budget, said she would talk to Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” M. Angara, who heads the finance committee, so they could bring up the matter during budget deliberati­ons.

The Senate last week adopted a separate resolution urging the Comelec to extend voter registrati­on.

About 12 million voters have yet to register, Mr. Pangilinan said, citing the Comelec and the Philippine Statistics Authority.

Election officials have said the commission would not extend the deadline because this could disrupt preparatio­ns for the elections next year.

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