THE VOTER registration period will “likely” be extended beyond the Sept. 30 deadline, Commission on Elections (Comelec) Spokesperson James B. Jimenez said a day after Congress approved a bill setting an extension of 30 days upon enactment into law.
Another poll official, however, confirmed to a senator on Tuesday that the commission will definitely pass a resolution to extend voter’s registration until Oct. 31.
“After consultation with Comelec officials, and in consideration of the public clamor, it is likely that an extension of the period of voter registration will be granted,” Mr. Jimenez said in a Viber message to reporters on Tuesday.
Mr. Jimenez reiterated a statement on Monday that the Comelec en banc will meet on Wednesday to make the final decision.
Meanwhile, Senator Maria Imelda Josefa “Imee” R. Marcos, chair of the committee on electoral reforms and people’s participation, said Comelec Director Teopisto E. Elnas, Jr. confirmed to her in a phone conversation that “Commissioners en banc will pass a resolution tomorrow extending the registration to Oct. 31.”
The Comelec en banc has previously denied a petition filed by several groups for an extension.
In a news briefing on Friday, Mr. Jimenez said the commission was already open to extending the period for voter registration despite its impact on the preparation timeline for the national and local elections next year.
He said the Comelec is “going the extra mile to find a way to solve difficulties for the good of the people.”
In a post on social media last month, Mr. Jimenez said the Philippines already has 61.06 million registered voters as of Aug. 24, which is more than the commission’s expectation of 59 million.
This total, however, is still low considering that there are 73.3 million qualified voters based on data from the Philippine Statistics Authority, Ms. Marcos pointed out in a Senate hearing on the bills on Sept. 22.
There have been long lines at Comelec offices and satellite sites for voter registration in various parts of the country since last week. — Bianca Angelica D. Añago and Alyssa Nicole O. Tan