The Supreme Court (SC) is being urged to immediately issue a temporary restraining order or status quo ante order enjoining the implementation of Republic Act 11935 which mandates the postponement of the conduct of the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections (BSKE) from December of this year to October 2023.
In his four-page motion, lawyer Romulo Macalintal stressed the SC should issue the TRO and compel the Comelec to proceed with the preparations for the BSKE noted the admission of the Commission on Elections through its counsel, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), to remove the practice of postponing barangay elections, which in the process, extending the term of barangay officials.
Macalintal said the OSG admitted if the issues are not properly addressed, this could undermine the holding of a free, orderly, and credible barangay election.
The petitioner argued that the election should push through considering that the poll body had already spent P1 billion of the P8.5 billion budget for barangay elections, aside from the five million ballots already printed.
“Thus, there is the compelling need to direct respondent Comelec to resume its preparations for the conduct of the BSKE to make it logistically possible for the poll body to hold the said elections in May 2022 in the event that the instant petition is granted,” Macalintal said.
The SC earlier heard the parties in the petition in an oral argument held last October.
In his petition, Macalintal asked the SC to declare as unconstitutional the postponement BSKE insisting that Congress has no power under the Constitution to postpone the barangay elections because such power exclusively belongs to the Comelec.
At the same time, the petitioner said postponing the conduct of barangay elections would also violate the constitutional right of the people to due process since they are effectively “forced to accept” the appointed officials under RA 11935 upon the expiration of their term in December 2022, without hearing or notice.
The election lawyer pointed out that R.A. 11935 violates the 1987 Constitution which provides that barangay officials must be elected into office, not appointed.
Macalintal also said by extending the term of office of barangay officials, R.A. 11935 violates the principle that the term of said officials should not be longer than their superiors.