IF THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) is to be asked, the October 2017 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections would push through on the third Monday of the said month. To date, there is no law, order or proclamation yet from government authorities that the said democratic exercises shall again be postponed.
As far as the Comelec is concerned, the elections would be held this coming October 23. However, there are again moves to postpone and reset the date of the elections on to another schedule resulting in the extension of the term of offices of the thousands of incumbent elected barangay and SK officials in the country.
For the incumbent, it would be of course favorable for them since they would be spared from the expenses of the campaign should they are seeking for re-election. For those who are not, it simply means an extension of their rule.
With the supposed elections forthcoming, it's too late for Congress to enact a law changing the mode or manner of electing barangay officials such as having them appointed or electing only punong barangays sans barangay kagawads who shall be appointed by the winning village chief.
Without any law on the other hand, the President of the Republic has the power to postpone such elections that shall mean extending the terms of barangay officials.
President Duterte has done it before (extending the term of office of barangay officials) and he may do it again. He can have reasons after all to postpone the barangay elections including the non-prioritization of election expenditures.
For people in barangays who have officials who are true to their mandates, it's their lucky year. However, it’s the opposite for barangay constituencies who have their non-performing barangay officials who deserved to be replaced by way of election.
There is a proposal before that city or municipal mayors may just appoint barangay officials of their choice. With this, local chief executives would have their free hands in choosing their political allies. This is far from getting realized but it may happen though once there would be an enacted law for that matter.
Those who are aspiring for barangay positions this early have their political machinery, tactics and funding left hanging. The coming barangay elections may or may not push through, they have to take note.
I surmise President Duterte would not postpone the elections this time considering the fact that he is branding so much local official as involved in illegal drugs. With the elections, pushing through, people would have the hand in choosing barangay election candidates with clean names, without any involvement in the drug menace. At any rate, we still have to wait for the “susunod na kabanata” before we can finally know the plight of our barangay leaders.
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Published in the SunStar Pampanga newspaper on September 17, 2017.
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