At least three senators on Monday said postponing the 2022 national and local elections would not be in line with the 1987 Constitution.
Their comments came after Coalition for Life and Democracy reportedly filed a petition before the Commission on Elections (Comelec) seeking the suspension of the 2022 polls until May 2025 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III, who is running for vice president in the upcoming polls, said deferring the elections will create a “vacuum” in the government.
“There is no provision in the Constitution that will allow a holdover for national officials except for 12 members of the Senate,” Sotto said in a text message shared to reporters.
His running-mate, presidential aspirant Senator Panfilo Lacson agreed that it would be a violation of the Constitution should the elections be halted.
“They should read the Constitution. Even the prayer in the petition to extend the term of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte in a holdover capacity is outright unconstitutional,” Lacson said.
For his part, Senator Joel Villanueva, who seeks reelection in the upcoming polls, said the COVID-19 pandemic “cannot be used as an excuse” to deny the people’s right to vote which is “enshrined” in the Constitution.
“Other countries like Peru were able to have national elections during the pandemic. We should be able to do the same,” Villanueva added.
On Monday morning, Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said the petition seeking the postponement of the 2022 national and local elections is “unlikely to prosper” as it is unconstitutional.
“The Constitution is very specific about when elections are to be held and there is no holdover provision in the Constitution or anywhere for the positions that are up for election in the coming polls,” said Jimenez.
As early as September 2020, the poll body has been clear that there was no need for the postponement of the 2022 elections as the Constitution has specific provisions for it.
The Constitution mandates that national elections be conducted every second Monday of May every three years. — DVM, GMA News