THE Senate and the House of Representatives on Tuesday approved measures postponing the barangay (village) and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) or youth council elections scheduled next month, virtually extending the terms of incumbent officials for a year.
With 20 affirmative votes and two negative votes, Senate Bill No. 1112, authored and sponsored by Sen. Juan Edgardo Angara, was passed on third and final reading.
The House also passed House Bill 3504 on third and final reading via a 214-4 vote.
Angara, who heads the Senate Committee on Local Government, said the proposed law postponing the barangay and SK elections will no longer go through the bicameral conference committee because the House adopted their version.
The measure sets the barangay elections on October 23, 2017.
Senate minority leader Ralph Recto said he voted against the postponement of the barangay and SK polls because he is not convinced that the reasons cited in moving the electoral exercise are enough to justify it.
“By putting off the elections for a year, we are only putting aside funds budgeted for the elections for a year. We can only save money if we are permanently cancelling the polls. But we are only postponing it,” he explained.
Recto said postponing the elections gave barangay officials who coddle or are in cahoots with drug lords another year in office.
Lawmakers at the House meanwhile said postponing the elections by a year will give President Rodrigo Duterte a free hand in appointing officials and allow infrastructure projects to be implemented.