House approves bill postponing barangay, SK polls to May 2018

Bea Cupin
House approves bill postponing barangay, SK polls to May 2018
The Senate's counterpart measure suggests a different date, October 2018

MANILA, Philippines – Voting 213-10, the House of Representatives of Monday, September 11, approved on final reading a bill postponing the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections from October 2017 to May 2018.

This would be the second time for the village and youth polls to be postponed under President Rodrigo Duterte. The following legislators voted against the postponement of the elections: 

  1. Anakpawis Representative Ariel Casilao
  2. ACT Teachers Representative France Castro
  3. Gabriela Representative Arlene Brosas
  4. ACT Teachers Representative Antonio Tinio
  5. Bayan Muna Representative Carlos Zarate
  6. Kabataan Representative Sarah Elago
  7. Akbayan Representative Tom Villarin
  8. Magdalo Representative Gary Alejano
  9. Cebu 1st district Representative Raul Del Mar
  10. Siquijor Representative Ramon Rocamora

In August, the House, through an all-member caucus, voted to postpone the elections, which were supposed to be held in October 2017. The House also decided to have current officials serve on holdover capacity until elections are held. 

A counterpart measure is pending before the Senate, but the upper chamber eyes a different date: October 2018. The differences in the two measures, should the Senate bill pass 3rd reading, will be hammered out during a bicameral conference. 

Duterte and his allies have cited the ongoing drug war – and the supposed links of many barangay officials to the illegal industry – as a reason for the elections to be postponed again.

Critics, however, have pointed out that the administration should just file cases against barangay officials with supposed links to illegal drugs, instead of postponing elections again. 

The 10 legislators who voted against the measure are still explaining their votes as of posting. –

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Bea Cupin

Bea is a senior multimedia reporter who covers national politics. She's been a journalist since 2011 and has written about Congress, the national police, and the Liberal Party for Rappler.