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SPOKESPERSON SAYS Comelec open to talks on plebiscite

Posted on: April 3, 2009

SPOKESPERSON SAYS
Comelec open to talks on plebiscite

By Anna Valmero
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 16:50:00 04/02/2009

Filed Under: Inquirer Politics, Elections, Eleksyon 2010

MANILA, Philippines—The Commission on Elections (Comelec) welcomed discussions on the technical aspects of holding a plebiscite on constitutional amendment before the 2010 polls, a spokesperson said Thursday.

While the poll body is open to talks with House speaker Prospero Nograles, Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez, who quoted Comelec chairman Jose Melo, stressed “there is not enough time to hold the plebiscite before the 2010 elections” and noted the poll body was busy preparing for the automated poll.

“On a legal perspective, how much time we have for holding a plebiscite will depend on when the document containing the amendments to be ratified by the voters is made available to the public. Campaign for a plebiscite under the law takes 45 days,” said Jimenez.

He noted the typical preparations for regular elections also apply to preparations for a plebiscite.

“Although a plebiscite only involves a voter answering either ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to a question, it is imperative that the proposed amendments are read and understood by the public before holding the plebiscite,” said Jimenez.

Average cost for holding a plebiscite on a national level can cost around P3 billion to P5 billion, Jimenez said, noting that his estimates are based on 2007 national election expenditures.

Another issue that might come up when a plebiscite is held before the 2010 elections is who can vote, Jimenez said.

The last plebiscite on constitutional amendment was held in 1987, Jimenez said.

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