Comelec postpones 5 plebiscites to prepare for May 2022 polls

By Ferdinand Patinio

August 19, 2021, 3:48 pm

MANILA – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) will not hold plebiscites until after the conduct of next year's elections.

In Resolution No. 10716, the Commission en banc has decided to postpone five scheduled plebiscites as they need to concentrate on the preparations for next year’s polls.

"Now, Therefore, after due deliberation, so as not to derail the preparations for the May 9, 2022 National and Local Elections, the Commission En Banc, by virtue of the powers vested in it by the Constitution, the Omnibus Election Code, and other election laws, hereby resolve, as it hereby resolves to suspend the conduct of all plebiscites, and schedule the holding of said plebiscites within four months from the end of the election period for the May 9, 2022 National and Local Elections," the resolution read which was promulgated on August 18 and made public on Thursday.

These include the plebiscite to ratify the creation of Barangay New Canaan into a regular and district barangay in the municipality of Alabel, Sarangani; the plebiscite to ratify the merging of Barangay District 1 and Barangay District 28 and the renaming of Barangay 29 in Ormoc City; the plebiscite to ratify the conversion of the municipality of Calaca in the province of Batangas into a component city; the plebiscite to ratify the conversion of the city of San Jose Del Monte into a highly urbanized city and the plebiscite to ratify the division of Maguindanao into two provinces.

The poll body said preliminary activities such as the configuration of vote-counting machines (VCMs), the preparation of the final database for all elective positions, among others are taking much of their time aside from the deadlines that they have to meet.

“Whereas, all these preliminary activities must be completed before the scheduled filing of Certificates of Candidacy, thus, the database for all elective positions nationwide should be finished on or before August 30, 2021. Whereas, considering the timeline laid above for the preparation for the 2022 NLE and the arduous preparations needed for its implementation, in order to concentrate all its resources in the preparation for the May 9, 2022 National and Local Elections, there is a need to set a cutoff date for the conduct of plebiscites," the resolution added.

The filing of the certificates of candidacy for next year's polls is set from Oct. 1 to 8 this year.

The last plebiscite conducted by the Comelec was the Palawan plebiscite on March 13, which sought to divide the province into three separate provinces.

Palawan remained as a single province after the "No" votes won by 50,081 votes with 172,304 votes against the "Yes" 122,223 votes. (PNA)