House adopts Senate version of bill postponing barangay elections
MANILA, Philippines – The village and youth council elections in the Philippines are one step closer to a second postponement.
After the Senate decided last week to adopt the “major provisions” of a House bill that seeks to postpone the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan polls original set for October 2017, the House of Representatives on on Monday, September 25, moved to adopt the Senate’s final version.
This means that there will be no need to call a bicameral conference committee in order to reconcile differences in the two versions of the bill. The measure will be forwarded to Malacañang for President Rodrigo Duterte to sign into law.
Majority Floor Leader and Ilocos Norte 1st District Representative Rodolfo Fariñas made the manifestation for the adoption of the Senate version during Monday's session.
House Bill Number 6308, which was passed by the House on September 11, seeks to move the elections to May 2018. The House version also allows current officials to hold over their posts until the elections take place.
There were two points on which the Senate used to differ: the new date for the elections, and whether the current officials, whose terms are ending in October, will extend their terms or will be replaced by appointed persons.
But the Senate, with less than a month to go before the scheduled elections, eventually chose to adopt the House's version.
Fariñas, speaking before plenary, said the House committee on suffrage and electoral reforms, as well as the committee on appropriations concurred to the adoption of the Senate version.
Once the bills are eventually passed and signed into law, it would be the second time that barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections are postponed under the Duterte administration.
In pushing for the postponement, President Rodrigo Duterte has cited the possibility of drug lords funding candidates so they could operate freely in the villages. Duterte's allies in Congress adopted the same reasoning. – Rappler.com