The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Friday warned that postponement of the 2022 barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections would have an impact on its preparations for the 2025 midterm polls.
Meanwhile, the poll body has already started administrative and operational preparations for the village and SK elections scheduled on Dec. 5, 2022.
Comelec spokesperson John Rex Laudiangco said however that the poll body was ready to comply should Congress pass a law postponing the village elections.
“Definitely, the postponement, coupled with a re-setting or re-scheduling of any priorly-scheduled electoral exercise has a potential to impact preparations and activities of succeeding elections,” Laudiangco told reporters in a text message.
“This impact may be more readily apparent on the early planning and preparations which the Commission intends to undertake for the conduct of the May 12, 2025 national and local elections,” he added.
Quoting Comelec finance services director Martin Niedo, Laudiangco said the bulk of the P8 billion allocated for the barangay and SK elections remained untouched.
He added that any procurement of goods would not go to waste should the polls be postponed. Ballots and accountable forms may still be used on a later date, just like when the Comelec used election paraphernalia dated October 2017 for the May 2018 barangay elections, said the official.
“None of the procured goods, including indelible inks, pens and ballot and others were wasted,” Laudiangco said.
Laudiangco also said the poll body was undertaking specific activities in preparation for the Dec. 5 barangay and SK elections, including voter registration which will end on July 23, 2022; drafting and promulgation of implementing resolutions which may be reissued or re-promulgated in the event of postponement of the polls; and procurement of ballot papers, printing of the ballots, as well as accountable and non-accountable forms and other election paraphernalia.
Laudiangco said the Comelec en banc would promulgate soon the resolution for the forthcoming poll exercise despite suggestions to postpone the holding of barangay and SK elections to May 6, 2024.
The Comelec spokesman also said the procurement of ballot papers and other election supplies was already on track.
“We are confident that we are on track and that we will be able to conduct the Barangay and Sangguniang Elections on Dec. 5,” Laudiangco added.
In another development, the Comelec disclosed that more than 1.3 million individuals registered as new voters for the barangay and SK elections. In a report, Laudiangco said there were 1,370,593 new voters as of July 15, including 863,078 who belonged to the 15-17 age bracket.
The Comelec said 1,805,272 applications were processed as of July 15.
These also include transfer of voting location, reactivation, correction of entries, change of names, inclusion of record in the book of voters, and reinstatement of name in the list of voters.
Laudiangco said the Comelec would continue preparing for the polls until “there is a republic act promulgated, issued and signed stating that the barangay election is postponed or reset or rescheduled.”