THE Senate on Wednesday passed on third and final reading a bill postponing the October 2017 Barangay (village) and Sangguniang Kabataan (youth council) elections to May 2018.
The upper chamber moved to expedite the approval of Senate Bill 1584 after Malacañang sent a certification indicating that the passage of the measure “is urgent.”
The senators approved the measure on second reading at 3 p.m. on Wednesday after introducing a few amendments that include allowing the incumbent village and SK officials to hold on to their posts until next year’s polls.
But Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto 3rd announced that he received a call from the Palace that it will send a certification for the urgent approval of the bill. The Senate received the certification at about 6 p.m.
Sen. Risa Hontiveros was the only one who opposed the postponement.
“I vote no to the postponement of elections based on the flimsiest reasons, unsubstantiated by evidence, and motivated only by the President’s desire and intent to have full control over the barangays,” Hontiveros explained.
“I vote no to stretching too far the mandate of our incumbent barangay officials to the point of compromising their legitimacy and authority to govern,” she added.
Sen. Ralph Recto said it is best to defer the electoral exercise.
“If we proceed as scheduled, my fear is that, given the overall unpreparedness, we will be holding an election that will be pilloried for many shortcomings. I am also voting ‘yes’ on the palabra de honor (word of honor) of Malacañang that this will be the last cancellation (of barangay and SK polls),” Recto said.