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Senate presses Comelec to extend voter registration

BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN

Senator Risa Hontiveros (second from right), assisted by Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson, Board Member Rita Gatuslao, Himamaylan City Vice Mayor Justin Gatuslao and Provincial Administrator Rayfrando Diaz, led on Sept. 27 the ribbon cutting for the launching of Mobile Health Clinic Project in Negros Occidental, at the Provincial Capitol in Bacolod City.* GPB photo

Despite its justification of not extending the voter registration, the Commission on Election is still being pressed by Congress to extend it by one month.

Both the Senate and House of Representatives passed a joint resolution calling on Comelec to extend the registration of voters from September 30 until October 31, Senator Risa Hontiveros, who led the launching of the “Mobile Health Clinic Project” in Negros Occidental yesterday at the Provincial Capitol in Bacolod City with Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson and Board Member Rita Gatuslao, said.

Comelec chairperson Shariff Abas insisted that the poll body no longer has enough time to extend registration by at least a month due to other calendared activities that would be greatly affected by the proposed change of deadline.

But still we impressed upon them, that the law says that they (Comelec) have to register voters until 120 days before a general election, Hontiveros, who co-chairs the Senate Finance committee, said.

Lawmakers, as well as other stakeholders, are worried that millions of voters would be disenfranchised should the Comelec stick to its September 30 registration deadline.

Hontiveros said that the Senate Bill 2408, which calls for extension of voter registration, with similar bill filed at the House of Representatives, have already been approved on third and final reading.

Once the bicameral version approved and ratified it, the ball is now in the hands of president. They can sign it into law, or allow it to lapse into law. But I hope they will not veto it, Hontiveros said.

If approves into a law, then Comelec itself has said, especially Chairman Abas during their internal briefing, that they will have no choice but to implement the law, she added.*

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