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Albay Rep. Edcel C. Lagman said that the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) cannot refuse to conduct a longer period of registration of voters because under the existing law it is mandated to hold continuing registration up to January 9, 2022 for the May 9, 2022 regular national and local elections.

R.A. No. 8189, entitled “The Voter’s Registration Act of 1996”, which was principally authored by Lagman, establishes a system of continuing registration of voters under Section 8 thereof which provides: “The personal filing of application of registration of voters shall be conducted daily in the office of the Election Officer during regular office hours. No registration shall, however, be conducted during the period starting one hundred twenty (120) days before a regular election and ninety (90) days before a special election.” (Emphasis supplied).

The stalling of the voter’s registration due to the pandemic makes the implementation of R.A. No. 8189 more reasonable and critical.

The Supreme Court in Kabataan PartyList v. Comelec upheld the implementation of Section 8 of R.A. No. 8189 for the May 2010 regular elections.

Lagman explained that under the prevailing law, the continuing registration of voters for next year’s elections would be up to January 9, 2022, which is 120 days before the May 9, 2022 regular elections. 

Consequently, Lagman said that “House Bill No. 10261 and Senate Bill No. 2408 mandating the COMELEC to extend voter’s registration to October 31, 2021 for the May 2022 elections are no longer necessary.” 

Moreover, Lagman added that if the said bills were to be enacted into law, the period for continuing registration of voters will be shortened to October 31, 2021, instead of January 9, 2022, for the May 2022 elections, and for all subsequent elections because of the repealing clauses in said bills.