PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has signed into law a bill postponing the barangay (village) and Sangguniang Kabataan (youth council) polls scheduled on October 31, a Palace official said on Tuesday.
Quoting Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Presidential Communications Assistant Secretary Marie Banaag made the announcement in a Malacañang news conference.
Medialdea, she said, was awaiting the signed measure sent back to Manila via courier. The President is on a two-nation trip this week, to Brunei and China.
The law, which resets village polls to October 23, 2017 from October 31, 2016, was the first bill to be signed by Duterte.
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) had suggested that the village polls be postponed to 2017 to “properly space” election schedules.
Duterte backed the postponement of the polls, fearing that candidates might use drug money for their campaign.
“Do you know the reason why I also agreed with some congressmen to postpone the barangay elections? Because I am afraid that the drug money will seep into the electoral process,” Duterte had said.
Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista had suggested that the polls be held next year, instead of 2018 which would be too close to the 2019 mid-term elections.