Senate approves postponement of barangay, SK polls

VOTING 17-1, the Senate approved on third and final reading the postponement of the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections from October this year to May 2018.

Senators, however, removed the provision that would allow President Rodrigo Duterte to appoint officers-in-charge in barangays.

The final version allows incumbent barangay officials to keep their post until the next elections.

Some senators earlier favored giving Duterte the authority to appoint officers-in-charge for the villages on an interim basis once the bill postponing the twin elections is signed into law.

The senators who voted in favor of the postponement on Wednesday, September 20, were Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, Senators Sonny Angara, Paolo Benigno "Bam" Aquino, Nancy Binay, Francis Escudero, Sherwin Gatchalian, Richard Gordon, Panfilo Lacson, Loren Legarda, Manny Pacquiao, Francis Pangilinan, Grace Poe, Ralph Recto, Vicente Sotto III, Joel Villanueva, and Juan Miguel Zubiri.

Only Senator Risa Hontiveros voted against the bill, saying the Duterte's wish is "motivated only by the President's desire and intent to have full control over the barangays."

"I vote no to holding hostage the legitimate exercise of the democratic right of our citizens and our youth to choose the barangay and youth leaders. I vote no to stretching too far the mandate of our incumbent barangay officials to the point of compromising their legitimacy and authority to govern," she added.

Duterte earlier certified as urgent the measure postponing the October 2017 barangay and SK polls, citing 40 percent of all the villages in the country are affected by the drug menace.

He said that "drug people" will win if the government allows the resumption of barangay and SK polls in October.

Last year, Congress postponed the village and youth elections from October 31, 2016, to October 23, 2017. (SunStar Philippines)
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