The House of Representatives has approved a measure postponing the barangay (village) polls from May 14, 2018 to October 8, 2018.
Rep. Sherwin Tugna of Citizens Battle Against Corruption party-list, chairman of the House Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms, justified the move, saying it is aimed at synchronizing the village polls with the conduct of a plebiscite for the new constitution that will pave the way for the shift to a federal government.
Rep. Antonio Tinio of Alliance of Concerned Teachers party-list however said the election should not be postponed.
“Nobody here can guarantee that the plebiscite for Charter change will happen in October. When October comes and the proposed new constitution is not yet ready for plebiscite, who is to stop us again from postponing the barangay polls?” Tinio said.
Tugna however argued that the postponement is reflective of the sentiment of the public.
This will be the third postponement of the village polls. Congress first moved the barangay elections to October 2017 from October 2016, and then to May 2018 from October 2017.
Divorce bill approved
The House also approved the proposed Act of Absolute Divorce and Dissolution of Marriage on second reading on Wednesday via voice vote.
The measure provides an extensive list of grounds for absolute divorce, including marital infidelity, abandonment, physical abuse, drug addiction, alcoholism, contracting of a bigamous marriage, among others.
An amendment that would allow married couples to convert their pending petition for annulment to a petition for dissolution of marriage or absolute divorce was adopted before the voting.
The House has three session days left before going on a two-month break, which means it will have enough time to approve the divorce bill on third and final reading next week.