THE vice chairman of the Senate committee on electoral reforms and people’s participation has expressed support for the planned postponement of barangay (village) elections this October.
Sen. Richard Gordon, said the proposed postponement could provide Congress with more time to also review issues concerning barangay and the Sanguniang Kabataan (SK), including the involvement of some of its officials in illegal drugs.
President Rodrigo Duterte wants the scheduled barangay polls not to push through for fear that drug lords might finance the candidacies of village officials linked to the operation of illegal drugs in the country.
A bill seeking to reset the October 2017 barangay and SK elections to the fourth Monday of October 2018 is now pending at the electoral reforms committee.
Senate Majority Floor Leader Vicente Sotto 3rd, in filing Senate Bill 1469, said the postponement would allow the investigation and validation on the possible link of at least 40 percent of barangay captains to illegal drugs.
“Resolution of this problem will lead to the better implementation and accomplishment of the government programs as these barangay captains are the primary enforcers of the same,” Sotto said in the explanatory note of the bill.
Gordon said that aside from the postponement, he was also planning to file a bill that would extend the term of village officials to more than three years to give them time to implement more programs in their areas of jurisdiction.
“I’ve never been in favor of the three- year term, for me less election is better but there should be a strong recall process,” he added.
Duterte signed on October 2016 the law moving the barangay and SK elections to October 2017 from October 31, 2016, making it the first bill of the 17th congress enacted into law.
In pushing for a postponement, Congress cited election fatigue because the country came from the presidential and local elections in May 2016.
Lawmakers also want to give more time for the SK Reform Act or Republic Act No. 10742 to be fully implemented.