House approves rescheduling of village, youth polls to 2018
FOR the second time, the House of Representatives conceded to the wish of President Rodrigo Duterte to move the schedule of the 2017 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections to next year, with 213 lawmakers approving the measure.
Only 10 lawmakers rejected the proposal, namely:
1. Anakpawis Partylist Representative Ariel Casilao
2. ACT Teachers Partylist Representative France Castro
3. Gabriela Partylist Representative Arlene Brosas
4. ACT Teachers Partylist Representative Antonio Tinio
5. Bayan Muna Representative Carlos Zarate
6. Kabataan Partylist Representative Sarah Elago
7. Akbayan Partylist Representative Tom Villarin
8. Magdalo Party-list Representative Gary Alejano
9. Cebu Representative Raul Del Mar
10. Siquijor Representative Ramon Rocamora
Originally on October 23 this year, the bill effectively postponed the village and youth polls to the second Monday of May 2018.
Current officials will remain in office in a hold-over capacity, as the House rejected the proposal of Duterte to appoint the village and youth chiefs.
The President said the postponement of the barangay election will prevent drug personalities from being elected in barangay posts, claiming that “40 percent” of incumbent officials are involved in the drug trade.
But for Alejano, the source of Duterte's data to justify his proposal was suspicious and lacking in empirical basis.
“Hindi po maliwag kung saan hinugot ang 40% na ito dahil wala namang ahensya ang nagbigay ng nasabing datos,” Alejano said.
Another lawmaker who opposed the measure, Castro, questioned the response of Duterte over his supposed “data.”
“Ang idinadahilan ng ehe
kutibo ay more than 40% daw ng mga barangay ay may impluwensiya ng drugs o ng korapsyon. The more nga na dapat mag eleksyon at mapalitan sila. At kung may ebidensiya naman na maipapakita ang ehekutibo sa mga akusasyon, dapat gumulong ang hustisiya at due process,” she said.
Meanwhile, House suffrage and electoral reforms committee chairman Sherwin Tugna said the postponement will help the administration keep its momentum on its drug war.
“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.
However, the Senate has yet to concretize its measure postponing the elections. The upper chamber has earlier proposed that the election be held in October 2018.
Tugna said the conflicting proposal of the two houses must be ironed out soon to prevent further “trouble” for those who plan to file their certificate of candidacy.
“Also, I believe that the Senate is also on its way in 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 September 23, 2017 as the elections will be postponed,” he said.