Comelec asks Congress anew for law postponing October polls

THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) is hoping that Congress will immediately pass a law postponing the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) polls, in order for them to have a legal basis for its rescheduling and not simply an “assumption.”

“We are now working on the assumption that the Barangay and SK elections will be postponed [but] we are hopeful that Congress will pass the law for postponement as soon as possible,” Comelec Chairman Juan Andres Bautista said.

Bautista noted that a law should be passed at the soonest possible time since there are only 55 days before October 31.

The Senate and the House of Representatives have already agreed to move the village and youth elections to October 23, 2017.

President Rodrigo Duterte also supported the moves to postpone the Barangay and SK elections set to be held next month.

Because of the Chief Executive’s pronouncement, the poll body ordered the suspension of the printing of official ballots totaling to 85 million.

Over 400,000 ballots have been printed since the printing started last August 21 until the suspension order was issued on August 26.

Likewise, the conduct of public bidding for the election paraphernalia, and other preparations for the forthcoming polls have been stopped.

In a related development, Comelec Spokesman James Jimenez said they are still uncertain whether village officials will be retained on a holdover capacity or officers-in-charge (OICs) will be appointed.

“I think it is helpful that alternative points of view are being raised. But I think it would be more helpful if it were raised in proper venues, which is to say in Congress,” he said.

The poll body official added: “That will be entirely up to Congress to decide.”

Lawmakers are looking to grant holdover provision to incumbent barangay officials if the scheduled polls are postponed.

But members of the minority have proposed the appointment of officers-in-charge (OICs) in the barangays. (FP/Sunnex)

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