Poll watchdog urges Duterte to sign bill postponing October polls

AN ELECTION watchdog group has reminded President Rodrigo Duterte that the law postponing the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) polls should be signed as soon as possible since there are requirements on when a law would take effect.

According to National Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel) secretary general Eric Alvia, the bill should be approved before October 14 or 15.

“The cut-off is around October 14 or 15 since it needs to be published 15 days [prior] to be considered a law,” he said.

With this, the official was wondering why the President is taking too long to sign the proposed law, considering that the Chief Executive supports the postponement of the October 31 polls.

“We are not worried but puzzled as to what is keeping President Duterte from signing it. Are there unarticulated complications in the postponement?” he said in an interview.

On the other hand, former Commission on Elections (Comelec) Commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal is hoping that Duterte will soon sign the law.

“I just hope they give the signing of the bill priority, because time is of the essence. It’s less than a month till the elections,” he said in a separate interview.

Larrazabal noted that the law would be the basis of not pushing through with the polls, supposed to be held later this month.

“If October 31 comes and there’s no law, then there will a problem because there is no basis for the non-conduct of the elections,” he added.

The enrolled bill postponing the village and youth polls to October 2017 is now awaiting the signature of the President since it has been submitted to Malacañang last October 3. (FP/Sunnex)
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