May 2025 Elections to Proceed Despite Cha-cha Efforts

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The upcoming 2025 national and local elections in the Philippines will proceed as scheduled, according to the Commission on Elections (Comelec), despite the gathering of enough signatures to warrant a Charter change (Cha-cha) through people’s initiative.

Comelec Chairman George Erwin Garcia emphasized that the commission is mandated by the Constitution to conduct the May 2025 elections. “We are duty-bound to implement what is written in the Constitution,” he said.

However, Garcia acknowledged that holding the registration of voters from February 12 to September 30 could pose significant challenges due to the necessary verification of signatures for the people’s initiative. “The local Comelec, using the same personnel, can’t do both jobs at the same time,” he explained.

The registration of voters is set to end on September 30 to avoid conflicts with the rule that prohibits registration 120 days before a general election and 90 days before a special election. Following this deadline, the Election Registration Board will conduct a hearing in December to clean up the list of registered voters.

Additionally, the Comelec is also tasked with holding two forthcoming plebiscites in Marawi City and Las Piñas City.

Garcia emphasized that even if the registration of voters is suspended, the election in May 2025 will proceed at all costs. Whether there is a plebiscite as a result of people’s initiative, constituent assembly, or constitutional convention, the Comelec will still carry out the elections unless the Constitution is changed.

As of 5 p.m. Wednesday, the number of legislative districts with election officer certifications in connection with the submission of signature pages has increased to 192 from 187 earlier in the day. Additionally, the number of cities and municipalities involved has risen to 1,032 from 1,010.

Despite the push for Cha-cha through people’s initiative, the Comelec remains committed to fulfilling its constitutional duty to conduct the 2025 national and local elections. The Constitution serves as the guiding principle, and the Comelec is bound to follow its provisions.

The challenges lie in the simultaneous tasks of voter registration and verifying the signatures for the people’s initiative. To ensure the integrity of the electoral process, the Comelec recognizes the need to allocate sufficient resources and personnel to handle these tasks effectively.

The September 30 deadline for the registration of voters is strategically set to avoid conflicts with the rule that prohibits registration close to election dates. This allows the Election Registration Board to conduct a thorough review and cleaning of the voter list in preparation for the upcoming elections.

In addition to the voter registration process, the Comelec is also responsible for organizing plebiscites in Marawi City and Las Piñas City. These plebiscites are separate from the national and local elections but require the Comelec’s attention and resources.

Chairman Garcia emphasizes that regardless of any ongoing changes or initiatives, the Comelec is committed to conducting the May 2025 elections. The Comelec’s role is to ensure a fair and democratic electoral process, upholding the principles of the Constitution.

As the number of certifications and signature submissions continue to increase, the Comelec remains vigilant in its preparations for the 2025 elections. The commission understands the importance of maintaining transparency, accuracy, and efficiency in the electoral process, and it is dedicated to fulfilling its constitutional mandate.

In conclusion, the 2025 national and local elections in the Philippines will proceed as scheduled, despite the Cha-cha petition through people’s initiative. The Comelec is committed to upholding the Constitution and ensuring a fair electoral process. While challenges exist, the commission is determined to allocate the necessary resources and personnel to fulfill its duties effectively.

Source: The Manila Times

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