On April 29, 2022, a news report of ANC posted on YouTube states Comelec ruled that COVID-19 patients can no longer cast a vote on election day.
ABS-CBN Correspondent RG Cruz reported that covid-19 patients in medical facilities or isolated at home are not allowed to vote in the May 9 election. Comelec Commissioner George Erwin Garcia announced this, citing RA 11332 and Inter-Agency Task Force’s existing guidelines on emerging infectious diseases such as COVID-19. Comelec further confirmed that they have the capabilities to bring ballots to facilities and homes of isolated covid patients.
However, those who may have covid but not confirmed, not in isolation, and already at the precinct may vote.
Editor’s Note: The report from ANC was unsubstantiated and can incite diverse reactions. Does this imply that covid-19 patients in facilities lost their rights to vote? Even those who had leprosy before and were confined in leprosaria had exercised the right of suffragehttps://pcw.gov.ph/republic-act-180revised-election-code/. Seemingly, this report is misleading.
In a separate article published earlier this week, it stated that COMELEC would set up isolation polling places for voters who will exhibit COVID-19 symptoms on May 9https://manilastandard.net/news/314222735/covid-patients-cant-leave-to-vote.html. This one is more acceptable and does not steal a Filipino voter his right of suffrage because of COVID-19.
Also, those who exhibit symptoms but are not confirmed positive are still allowed to vote; how do they determine if an individual is positive or not? Mounting pieces of evidence show RT-PCR test is useless to distinguish flu from covid [see RT-PCR Cannot Differentiate Covid-19 and Seasonal Influenza: What Do We Have Then?; New study proves that RT-PCR positivity should not be used as a measure of infectiousness; Manitoba Government Chief Microbiologist: 56% of positive “cases” are not infectious, but products of misleading RT-PCR tests]. Can we afford to deny someone’s right to vote because of an illness? Unless perhaps the person is unconscious, on a ventilator, or unwilling, that’s the time their votes are not required.
The 1987 Constitution Article V Section 1 states: “Suffrage may be exercised by all citizens of the Philippines not otherwise disqualified by law, who are at least eighteen years of age, and who shall have resided in the Philippines for at least one year, and in the place wherein they propose to vote, for at least six months immediately preceding the election. No literacy, property, or other substantive requirements shall be imposed on the exercise of Suffrage.”
Suppose it is deemed that a covid positive patient is a public health risk; the law doesn’t state that they are disqualified from exercising their suffrage rights. This will be the Comelec’s initiative and should provide an isolation polling precinct rather than dismiss them and not allow them to vote. These two options have huge disparity.
We have to be more responsible for reporting, even if you claim you are only relaying what was said verbatim.
For those who are uncertain, ask and assert your rights!