PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has warned that there would be more killings if barangay (village) officials involved in illegal drugs were elected.
In his speech during the opening ceremony of the National Special Weapon and Tactics Challenge in Davao City on Thursday night, Duterte said that while he would keep his distance from the upcoming barangay elections, he would not allow anyone contributing to the drug menace to be elected as government officials.
“So I say, ‘Mag-eleksyon, okay.
Inyong decision ‘yan (Let’s have an election, okay. That’s your decision).’ But remember that the drug situation is still very, very alive and vicious. So kung manalo `yang mga barangay captain, na-back up ng drug money, e panibagong away `yan. Panibagong patayan na naman `yan (So if those backed up by drug money will win as barangay captains, it will be another war. It will be another killing),” Duterte said.
Duterte’s statement came after Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon’s claim that the President’s allies at the House of Representatives were preparing to postpone anew the village and youth council elections, in an attempt to “railroad the proposed Charter change” by pushing for a provision that would allow extended terms of office under a federal form of government.
Duterte denied he had a hand in the supposed move to delay the local elections, and stressed that the decision would be up to members of Congress.
He said he did not want to intervene in the holding of elections for new barangay and youth council officials so as not to be misinterpreted by the “bright” people that he was eyeing a dictatorship.
The President sought to suspend the barangay elections this October as he wanted to wipe out incumbent barangay officials linked to narcotics sale.
Duterte had said he was considering declaring all barangay positions vacant and appoint “honest” officials, following reports that 40 percent were involved in illegal drugs.
The barangay elections, originally scheduled for October 31, 2016, were first moved to October 23, 2017, and then to May 14, 2018.
As a result, the three-year terms of barangay officials who were elected in 2013 were effectively extended as they were retained in holdover capacity.
On Monday, Palace spokesman Harry Roque assured the public that the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections would be held as scheduled in May.