a person who is smiling at the airport: Comelec Chairman Sheriff Abas conducts an inspection of the May 13 elections canvassing venue at the Philippine International Convention Center tent area in Pasay City on Thursday, May 9, 2019. Danny Pata Comelec Chairman Sheriff Abas conducts an inspection of the May 13 elections canvassing venue at the Philippine International Convention Center tent area in Pasay City on Thursday, May 9, 2019. Danny Pata

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Monday stood by its position that there is no need to postpone the May 2022 polls even as it admitted that a law may be passed to reschedule elections.

Comelec Chairperson Sheriff Abas said it would be “difficult” to rule out a postponement given that the 1987 Constitution allows it.

The Constitution states that the regular election for President, Vice President and members of Congress shall be held on the second Monday of May, “unless provided by law.”

The next election is set for May 9, 2022.

Abas, however, said the Constitution also provides that the terms of incumbent elected officials must end at noon of June 30, 2022. 

“Magkakaproblema pa rin siya doon sa isang provision na mage-end lahat ng term ng incumbents on June 30. But as to puwedeng i-extend, puwede because under the Constitution nilagay mismo unless otherwise provided by law,” he said at the Laging Handa briefing.

“Wala sa plano namin 'yung postponement ng 2022 [elections].”

Earlier, House Deputy Majority Leader Mikey Arroyo said a postponement could be an “option of last resort” should the COVID-19 situation worsen by May 2022.

Arroyo’s proposal was met with criticism, with Malaca?ang saying that the pandemic should not be used as a ground to reschedule the elections “as this would not sit well with the public.”

The poll body has said that it was exploring ways to ensure a safe conduct of the polls in 2022.

Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said they are eyeing to expand the alternative voting method, the online filing of certificate of candidacy and requiring voters to wear face shields and face masks.

He also said the Comelec is also considering using large gymnasiums or covered courts as voting centers instead of classrooms.

Postal voting or mail-in voting for senior citizens and persons with disability is also being considered, Jimenez said. — RSJ, GMA News

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