SPEAKER Pantaleon Alvarez on Friday backed the stand of President Rodrigo Duterte on the need to postpone the elections of barangay officials in October this year.
Earlier, Duterte warned that if the October barangay elections would push through many village officials with ties to the drug trade would likely get reelected.
Instead, the President wants the polls postponed and fill the vacant positions by appointment.
“I support the President’s stand to call off the election of barangay officials in October. I think the postponement is reasonable because majority of the barangay officials are involved in illegal drugs, and they are using their positions to tolerate this illegal activity,” Alvarez said in a radio interview.
Alvarez said the wish of the President can be implemented through amendment of the Local Government Code and would not violate the constitution.
“Congress has to pass a law to effect the postponement for the Comelec to follow,” Alvarez said.
Alvarez said the necessary amendment could be proposed and tackled when Congress resumes session on May 2.
Duterte had admitted his plan to appoint barangay officials to fill the vacant posts would be “quite messy” because incumbent barangay officials would likely oppose the move.
The President said the first requirement for a barangay officer-in-charge nominee was that they should not have any connections at all with rebels.
Second, they must not be into drugs, and, lastly, they must not be leaders of politicians.
The President said he would accept nominations from the Catholic Church, from Islam leaders, religious denominations and other organizations.