MANILA -- The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has postponed the conduct of barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections in Mindanao this year.
Comelec Spokesperson James Jimenez said Tuesday, September 5, that the Comelec en banc decided to defer the local polls because of the continued imposition of martial law in the region.
"The commission today (Tuesday) promulgated an 11-page resolution resolving the question of postponement in the affirmative; the BSKE2017 in Mindanao has been postponed, citing the existence of lawless violence and rebellion which formed the basis for the declaration of martial law in the area," he said in a statement.
The Comelec conducted a public hearing on August 15 and it "found sufficient basis to postpone" the local polls.
"The Comelec cited the existence of lawless violence and rebellion, which formed the basis for the declaration of martial law in the area," Jimenez said.
Section 5 of Batas Pambansa 881 authorizes the Comelec to postpone elections when conditions, such as violence and terrorism, exist which make it impossible to conduct "free, orderly, and honest elections."
On the other hand, the poll body said that incumbent officials will be allowed to remain in office.
"Barangay officials shall remain in office despite the postponement and shall continue to be the choice of the electorate," the decision added.
The Comelec also noted that the village and youth polls will be held at the soonest possible time.
"The Commission shall immediately conduct the Barangay and SK elections not later than 30 days from the cessation of the cause of postponement of elections," it added.
Martial law is in effect in the whole Mindanao region until December 31.
There are pending bills in the House of Representatives and the Senate, calling for the postponement of the barangay and youth polls to May and October 2018, respectively. (PNA)