Drilon: Comelec has legal power to extend voting hours

By on March 11, 2016


Senate President Franklin Drilon. Photo courtesy of Drilon's official Facebook page.
Senate President Franklin Drilon. Photo courtesy of Drilon’s official Facebook page.

MANILA—Senate President Franklin M. Drilon today said that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) is authorized by law to extend the 2016 national and local elections if it needs time to comply with the Supreme Court ruling on the printing of vote receipts.

Drilon, a re-electionist senatorial candidate of the Liberal Party, said that he supports the idea of extending the period of conducting the elections, “which is more acceptable under the law instead of a complete postponement due to challenges presented to the Comelec by the Supreme Court’s decision.”

According to Drilon, a lawyer and former justice secretary, the law and the Constitution do not mandate that the voting period has to be finished within 24 hours.

“The Comelec has the power to decide how long the extension should be, as long as the election starts on second Monday of May as mandated by the 1987 Constitution,” Drilon explained.

“If the Comelec, due to decision of the Supreme Court, will require that the voting hours be extended, even if it extends to the next calendar day, that’s allowed under the law,” he added.

“Simply put, we can have elections on May 9 and May 10. But what is illegal and violative of the Constitution is to not have elections on May 9,” he stressed.

Drilon earlier vowed to block any attempt to postpone the 2016 May elections, saying that it would violate the Constitution if the Comelec insists on it.

“The Comelec cannot postpone on this ground based on existing law. There should not even be talks about postponement. I will block any attempt to postpone the election,” Drilon stressed.

He explained that under the Omnibus Election Code, postponement may only be effected for “serious causes such as violence, terrorism, loss or destruction of election paraphernalia or records, force majeure, and other analogous causes of such nature that the holding of a free, orderly and honest election should become impossible in any political subdivision.”