The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Monday said that the holding of the plebiscite for Charter change (Cha-cha) synchronized with the 2019 midterm elections is now highly unlikely due to lack of time.
Comelec Spokesman James B. Jimenez said information campaigns for a plebiscite would usually take six months to ensure those who will be affected will be able to vote with an informed choice.
With only around five months remaining before the May 13, 2019 elections, the Comelec official said there is now little chance the plebiscite will push through during the period.
“May is the fifth month of the year. So it’s impossible already to fit in the education period,” Jimenez said.
No less than House of Representative Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo earlier conceded that Cha-cha would have to be tackled by the 18th Congress since the draft Constitution is still pending in second reading in the Lower House.
Senators also expressed a similar view.
Once the said draft Constitution is approved by both houses of Congress, the Comelec would have to conduct a plebiscite to determine if it will be supported or rejected by the public.
“All of the factors are actually pointing to a negative possibility there. It is already unlikely to happen, even if they push it,” Jimenez said.
Jimenez noted they are now focusing their efforts on the preparations for the 2019 elections since the poll body is now already scheduled to start the printing of ballots next month.
“We are this close to finalizing the ballot design and, at this point, there is not even a completed set of amendments or revisions that can be considered,” Jimenez said.