BACKED by 213 solons, the measure that seeks to postpone the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections this year was approved on third and final reading in the House of Representatives.
Only 10 lawmakers, mostly members of the Makabayan bloc, opposed the passage of House Bill 6308 or An Act Postponing the October 23, 2017 Synchronized Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections, amending for the purpose RA 9164, as amended by RA 9340, RA 10656 and RA 10923.
Under the proposal, the barangay and SK elections scheduled in October this year will be moved to 2nd Monday of May 2018.
But the bill suggests hold-over status for incumbents which is contrary to the plan of President Rodrigo Duterte of appointing new officers.
If enacted into law, this will be the second postponement of barangay elections which was first set on October 2016.
The measure was sponsored in the plenary by chairman of the House committee on suffrage and electoral reforms Rep. Sherwin Tugna.
Tugna said disagreeing provisions will be settled in the bicameral conference committee meeting with Senate counterparts.
“I am glad that the bill has passed 3rd reading in the House of Representatives. It will bring the nation closer to its goal of postponing the barangay elections so that the current barangay officials will not be hampered in the campaign against illegal drugs,” Tugna said.
“Also, I believe that the Senate is also on its way to passing the counterpart barangay postponement bill. That way, aspirants to be barangay captains, kagawads and SK officials will not be troubled by filing a certificate of candidacy come Sept. 23, 2017 as the elections will be postponed,” he added.
Majority members of the House of Representatives agreed to postpone the barangay elections, heeding the will of President Duterte, who claimed that 40 percent of barangay officials are involved in the illegal drug operations.
The May 2018 elections may coincide with the plebiscite for the Bangasamoro Basic Law (BBL).
On the sidelines of the budget hearing, Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman Andres Bautista said the postponement of elections is the call of Congress.
In an interview, Bautista said the Comelec has already printed 3 to 4 million ballots to be used in the elections.
“Hopefully sana maipasa na ang pagpapaliban ng election. Sa ibang panig ng bansa tuloy ang elections, hinihintay natin ang batas. Tingin naman natin ipapasa ng Congress,” Bautista said.
According to Bautista, the Comelec, with the power vested by the Section 5 of Omnibus Elections Code, has already postponed the elections in Mindanao due to the declaration of martial law.