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Comelec: Cha-cha plebiscite unlikely in 2024, 2025

Metro Manila, January 27 ------ The Commission on Elections (Comelec) said the nationwide plebiscite for charter change may not happen this year and in 2025 due to time constraints and the holding of two major polls.  


If only the People's Initiative for Reform, Modernization and Action (PIRMA) secured the required signatures early and filed the petition in the first week of January, the poll body could push for the plebiscite by August, according to Comelec Chairman George Garcia. But since the group may still take two to three months to complete the 8 million signatures, the Comelec chief said it would be hard to pursue the plebiscite this year as the poll body still needs to determine if the petition is sufficient, as well as verify the signatures. "Wala kaming period in determination. Puwedeng mangyari one year ang determination kung sufficient ang substance, or whether nakuha ang requirement. Hindi kami tali ng oras sa determination," Garcia said. 


Garcia noted that the Comelec cannot hold the plebiscite in November and December this year as these months mark its "peak" preparation for the elections in 2025. For next year, Garcia stressed that the Comelec cannot sacrifice the midterm polls and the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections. "The entire year of 2025, we cannot do the plebiscite. Kapag ganun, 2026 na tayo [If that's the case, it may happen in 2026]," he said. 


PIRMA is reportedly determined to file the petition once the threshold had been achieved. Asked about the budget, Garcia said the Comelec has no funding yet if ever the plebiscite pushes through. He said the Comelec may be forced to request for money from the president's contingent fund. 



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