MANILA, Philippines – The House of Representatives is pushing for the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections to be postponed to May 2018. But if barangay leaders themselves were to decide, they’d rather it be moved to a much later date — “October 2019 or any time after the mid-term elections.”
At a hearing Monday, August 14 of the House committee on suffrage and electoral reforms, Liga ng mga Barangay national president Edmund Abesamis said “based on consultations,” majority of their members would rather that the already postponed village elections be held after the mid-term elections in May 2019.
Abesamis, a barangay official from Nueva Ecija, leads the organization with more than 42,000 barangays in its roster. They have some 322,000 members, which include barangay captains and other barangay officials.
The committee on suffrage and electoral reforms is hearing today bills calling for the postponement of the barangay elections to October 2018, a date that was determined during a House all-member caucus. The Senate too favored postponement of the polls, however, it has not yet decided on a date. The barangay elections were supposed to be held in October 2016 but it was postponed.
President Rodrigo Duterte has cited the war on drugs, and the supposed proliferation of drug personalities in barangay posts, as a good reason to postpone the elections. While Duterte wanted to appoint officials in the interim, legislators want incumbent officials to be “holdovers” until the next elections.
Abesamis said his organization also favored allowing incumbents to be holdovers.
Duterte earlier said that 40% of barangay officials had links to illegal drugs.
Quizzed by legislators, Abesamis could neither confirm not deny the President’s claims but admitted that there were some officials who were involved. “We are concerned that drug syndicates may use drug money to affect the elections,” said Abesamis.
The Liga ng mga Barangay head earlier said they want government to press the proper charges against barangay officials – including their members – with alleged links to illegal drugs. – Rappler.com
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