The Commission on Elections said on Tuesday that postponing the filing of certificate of candidacy will push back the printing of ballots.
Comelec spokesman James Jimenez issued the warning after both chambers of Congress on Monday adopted resolutions urging the Comelec to push back the deadline of CoC filing by a week, to Oct. 11 to 17 from Oct. 1 to 5.
The Senate, for instance, has already adopted on Monday Concurrent Resolution No. 13 urging the Comelec to move the filing of the certificates of candidacy for the 2019 national and local elections from Oct. 1 to 5, 2018 to Oct. 11 to 17, 2018.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III, who introduced the resolution, said Congress would be in session until October 12, 2018.
“Concurrent Resolution No. 19 provides for the legislative calendar for the regular session of the Seventeenth Congress of the Philippines which provides that it shall hold its session on Aug. 28, 2018 to Oct. 12, 2018 and adjourn on Oct. 12, 2018 to Nov. 11, 2018,” the resolution said.
At the moment, the resolution explained, the House of Representatives and the Senate of the Philippines are deliberating the proposed 2019 General Appropriations Bill and other priority measures that “require their utmost and undivided attention.”
To enable members of the Congress to fully attend to their legislative duties and meet the deadline for the filing of the certificates of candidacy for the 2019 national and local elections, the resolution said it is imperative that the period for filing of the certificates of candidacy be moved from Oct. 1 to 5, 2018 to Oct. 11 to 17, 2018.
Earlier in the same day, the House of Representatives adopted House Concurrent Resolution 20 resetting the date of the filing of certificates of candidacy for the May 13 midterm elections to Oct. 11 to 17, 2018.
The resolution, authored by Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, is intended to allow lawmakers to focus on their legislative work.
Arroyo’s resolution “[urges] the Commission on Elections to reset to Oct. 11 to 17, 2018 from Oct. 1 to 5, 2018 the filing of the certificates of candidacy in connection with the May 13, 2019 national and local elections.”
The House said that it sought the postponement “to enable the Members of Congress to fully attend to their legislative duties and meet the deadline for the filing of the certificates of candidacy for the 2019 national and local elections.”
Jimenez earlier said that the Comelec had set the CoC filing in early October because it needs ample time to screen out nuisance candidates, print out ballots and distribute these across the country.
All these activities will be pushed back if the filing of CoCs for the May polls is postponed.
“Definitely malaking epekto niyan kasi uurong lahat ng activities. Parang domino iyan e, ‘pag itinumba mo iyung isa, tumba lahat,” he said in a radio dzMM interview.
(That will have a big effect because all activities will be pushed back. That will have a domino effect; postpone one, the rest follows.)
“By the end of the year masasara na natin [dapat] ang balota. Ibig sabihin wala nang changes. Pero ‘pag inurong natin iyan... baka Enero na, nag-iimprenta pa tayo.”
(By the end of the year, we should be closing the ballot, meaning there should no longer be any changes. But if we defer the COC filing, perhaps we would still be printing ballots by January.)
Aside from the local and national elections, the Comelec also needs to prepare for the January 21 plebiscite for the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law, Jimenez noted.
The Comelec will tackle the proposed COC filing postponement when its en banc meets on Wednesday, he said.
The start of the filing of the certificates as scheduled by the Commission on Elections on Oct. 1 to 5 will be held while Congress is still in session.
But while the filing of COCs may be postponed, the Comelec said that it would not extend its deadline of voters registration which will end on September 29, 2018.
The Comelec said the three-month-long registration of voters is in preparation for the coming 2019 local elections for new voters to register, including the transfer of residence, reactivation, change or correction of entries and inclusion and reinstatement of records in the list of voters.
The poll body reiterated its call to the public not to wait until the deadline.
“Since the registration period was long, people were taking their time to register. Most of them will register during the last minute,” the Comelec said.
Jimenez also urged those who would like to participate in the May 2019 polls to come to their nearest Comelec offices for the last 15 remaining days of the registration period.
“Voter registration is only until September 29. If you are not yet registered, now is the time to do it!” he said.
All local Comelec offices are open from Mondays to Saturdays, including holidays, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to receive and process applications for voter registration.
Also, there are off-site/satellite registration being conducted by the poll body in different parts of the country