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MANILA – Any proposal to postpone the 2022 elections should be initiated by the two houses of Congress, Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Sheriff Abas said on Monday.

“If there is a proposal it will come from the House of Representatives as well as the Senate,” Abas said during the Laging Handa briefing.

He said the Constitution clearly provides that elections should be held on the second Monday of May of the election year.

“That date is definite although a law can be passed for an extension but again that is not the call of the Comelec,” he said.

Abas said the Constitution also provides that the terms of all incumbent elected officials will end on June 30 of the election year.

“As I’ve said if you look at the Constitution it has a provision stating ‘unless otherwise provided for by law.’ So extension is possible but there should be a law for the extension,” he said.

He was referring to Section 4 under Article VII of the 1987 Constitution, which states “Unless otherwise provided by law, the regular election for President and Vice-President shall be held on the second Monday of May.”

Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said what Abas meant for “extension” is rescheduling of the elections.

“I think the chairman meant rescheduling. That was the question. Postponement is rescheduling of elections. Not cancellation. So, I think that’s what he said reschedule is possible reschedule because it is written in the law, “unless otherwise provided by law,” Jimenez clarified in a separate interview.

Jimenez agreed with Abas that it is not Comelec’s call to reschedule the elections.

“The Chairman said it’s difficult to say that there will be no rescheduling because if Congress decides otherwise, Comelec will follow. It’s not our call. His only worry is, if you push rescheduling, you have a problem with the other provision,” he said.

Pampanga 2nd District Rep. Mikey Arroyo earlier asked the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to consider postponing the 2022 elections amid fears of transmission of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

In a virtual presser on Monday, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said delaying the elections “can never be an option” for Malacañang unless the 1987 Constitution is amended. (PNA)

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