Pampanga Rep. Mikey Arroyo on Thursday has raised the possibility of suspending the 2022 presidential elections in case the pandemic continues to drag on.
At the hearing of the Commission on Elections proposed 2021 budget, Arroyo, son of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, asked the poll chief Sheriff Abas if the body would consider postponing the national elections because of the pandemic.
Arroyo said that he is “very sure that many contaminations will happen” once the elections are pushed through.
“Do you consider the proposal of postponing the elections…coming from you and not from us, the members of the Congress? Because people might think we have a motive to extend our term,” said Arroyo.
He further mentioned the sentiments of the businessmen in his district, saying they opted to abstain from voting in the next election because they are afraid to contract the deadly virus.
“I hope the thought will linger in their minds. I’m not saying they should do it, just consider it,” he added.
In response, Abas said elections cannot be put off because it is a “Constitutional provision”. And besides, it is only the president and the Congress
could decide on the matter.
Nonetheless, the body had already created a committee that will prepare for the 2022 elections in case the pandemic continues.
Comelec Executive Director Bartolome Sinocruz, for his part, said if the pandemic persists until the next two years, it will implement the procedures applied in overseas absentee voting where Filipinos abroad could vote within a 30-day schedule.
He added that they will limit the voters inside a precinct to a maximum of five.