LAWMAKERS on Tuesday said Congress had ample time to pass a bill postponing the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections on Oct. 23 this year.
“We still have enough time to postpone the barangay and SK polls. We hope Malacañang will certify the bill as urgent to make this possible,” said Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers.
Barbers is chairman of the House committee on dangerous drugs and author of House Bill 5359 that seeks to postpone the elections.
Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez earlier said the House will give priority to the passage of several proposed measures calling for the postponement of the barangay and SK elections when the second regular session of the 17th Congress opens in July.
The Comelec is set to start printing the official ballots on July 20.
Camarines Sur Rep. LRay Villafuerte said the elections’ deferment would be beneficial to Comelec officials and employees, teachers and all others who were involved in the May 9, 2016 elections as well as to all the voters.
‘‘It would also give the Comelec more time to address several issues raised by stakeholders about the system used in last summer’s national and local elections,’’ said Villafuerte, author of a law that postponed the barangay elections last year.
Deputy speaker and Batangas Rep. Raneo Abu said the postponement of the barangay elections would be in support of President Rodrigo Duterte’s campaign against illegal drugs.
“President Duterte only wants to resolve the drug menace and appointing officers-in-charge to the barangay posts is worth considering following the involvement of some of them in illegal drugs,” Abu said.
“Remember: Our barangay officials are the people’s first line of defense in the grassroots level and they should protect society from the drug menace.” AFP
Barbers aside, Reps. Lord Allan Velasco of Marinduque and Jose Panganiban Jr. of ANAC-IP party-list filed HB 5361 and 5380, respectively, to postpone the barangay elections in October.