Comelec likely to extend suspension of printing of ballots for SK, village polls

By on September 1, 2016

FILE PHOTO: A sample of a ballot the 2016 Philippine national election (Twitter photo).
FILE PHOTO: A sample of a ballot the 2016 Philippine national election (Twitter photo).

MANILA—The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is looking to lengthen the suspension of the printing of the ballots while waiting for Congress to pass a law postponing the forthcoming Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections.

Comelec Spokesperson James Jimenez said that they needed an indication that the Oct. 31, 2016 polls would be rescheduled to totally stop the printing of the official ballots intended for the village and youth elections.

“….Pero kahapon in a rapid set of developments nagkaroon indication mula sa Congress and Senate na mukhang mapostpone talaga so right now pinagaaralan ng Commission kung pwede natin maeextend ‘yung suspension ng printing. Hindi natin tinigil entirely kasi at this point wala pa naman tayo basehan literally speaking kasi walang batas e,” he said in an interview.

But, the poll body official added that they could not say how long the extension would be, noting that they need to assess things first.

“We’ll see how long ‘yung ibibigay na suspension. Here is the thing pagaaralan din kase ‘yan nung ating mga departments na incharged doon sa paghahanda para sa halalan…So kailangan natin iassess kung extend gaano kalaki ‘yung extension ang pwedeng ibigay. So ‘yun ang inaantabayanan nating desisyon,” he said.

Jimenez noted that aside from the printing, other preparations have also been suspended such as the awarding of bids for the acquisition of election paraphernalia.

“You could say that other preparations have been suspended as well for instance…hindi tayo nagbigay notice of award so in a sense that’s also a kind of suspension of preparation,” he said.

The poll body official added, “Siguro I would say is that nakaabang na lahat. If we get clarity. We will be ready to go on a moment’s notice. The question is really whether or not that moment’s notice will come at a time na kaya pang tapusin lahat preparations so it’s really a question of how much time will be left but otherwise we have prepared all the way to that point if we are told to go then we will go.”

Last Friday, the poll body ordered the suspension of the printing of the official ballots due to the statement of President Rodrigo Duterte supporting the call to postpone the Barangay and SK polls.

The proposal is to hold the local polls in October 2017.