PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has signed into law a bill postponing the barangay (village) and Sangguniang Kabataan or youth elections originally scheduled at the end of the month, Malacañang confirmed on Wednesday.
Republic Act 10952, which Duterte signed on Monday, October 2, reset the village polls to the second Monday of May next year from October 23, 2017, with the terms of office of the winners beginning on June 30.
“Subsequent synchronized barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections shall be held on the second Monday of May 2020 and every three years thereafter,” the law states.
Incumbent village and youth council officials stay in office until a new set of officers is elected.
The new law provided that funding for the twin elections, amounting to P6,090,324,325.16, would be considered continuing appropriations and used exclusively for the village and youth elections registration and elections in May next year.
This was the second postponement of the twin polls. Duterte last year signed a bill postponing the village and youth elections originally set for October 2016.
Prior to the postponement, the President said he was in favor of postponing the polls, claiming drug money could be used in the elections.
He asked that the elections be postponed to allow him to purge the ranks of village officials tagged in the narcotics trade, which he said accounted for 40 percent of the total.
Gun ban lifted
The Philippine National Police (PNP) signed on Wednesday a memorandum
suspending the gun ban normally imposed by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) ahead of voting.
A memorandum from Comelec Chairman Juan Andres Bautista said operational guidelines and preparations, including the gun ban and the designation of checkpoints in Luzon and the Visayas, were suspended.
“Actually, we can say today that the gun ban is no longer effective,” PNP deputy
spokesman Vimelle Madrid said in a news briefing.
According to PNP data, 52 persons were arrested for illegal possession of firearms, while 47 firearms were confiscated during the gun ban. Aside from firearms, 296 other deadly weapons were seized, including grenades and explosives.
PNP spokesman Chief Supt. Dionardo Carlos said regular checkpoints would continue all over the country despite the lifting of the gun ban.
with RJ CARBONELL