Duterte admin rejects call to cancel Halalan 2022 due to COVID-19 pandemic

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 25 2020 05:07 PM

Quezon City maintenance personnel fix old ballot boxes, in preparation for the national and local election, at the Quezon City Hall on Sunday. The boxes will be used as drop box for voters’ receipts issued from the vote counting machine (VCM) on election day this coming May 9, 2016. ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA —President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration rejected on Friday a proposal to suspend the 2022 national elections due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, saying the country still has sufficient time to prepare for the nationwide polls.

The pandemic should not be used as a reason to postpone the upcoming elections, which would see the rise to power of Duterte’s successor, his spokesperson Harry Roque said.

“The National Election is still two years away and we still have sufficient time to prepare,” Roque said in a statement.

“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,” he said.

Pampanga Rep. Mikey Arroyo on Thursday urged the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to consider postponing the 2022 national polls, saying voters are afraid of contracting coronavirus. 

Comelec Chairman Sheriff Abas however responded that the matter is not a call of the poll body, but rather, up to Congress and President Duterte.

The Philippines could learn from other countries, such as the United States the process of conducting an election during a pandemic, Roque said. The US is set to hold its elections this year.

“The holding of elections is a public service that the government must ensure to deliver. The idea to postpone the 2022 elections, if and when it happens, presents constitutional challenges,” Roque said.

Under the 1987 Philippine charter, the presidential and vice presidential elections should occur every second Monday of May every sixth year after May 1992.