MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The House committee on suffrage, voting 14-2, on Monday, March 12, approved proposals to postpone the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections originally set for May 2018.
In a second round of voting, the members, 17-0, agreed on the new date: the second Monday of October 2018, which is October 8.
Surigao del Norte Representative Robert Ace Barbers defended the proposal, saying that postponing the barangay elections “is not actually going against the principles of democracy.”
“Let’s not forget that postponing it is not totally deleting, cancelling, or removing elections in this country. We are just postponing this particular elections because there are more serious problems that we should address first before we continue this,” Barbers said.
The proposed postponement comes as President Rodrigo Duterte’s allies eye a plebiscite for a new charter. (READ: Tensions flare as lawmakers rush to approve barangay poll postponement)
Several postponements: Should the committee’s vote be approved at plenary and passed into law, it would be the 3rd time the village poll will be postponed.
A new set of barangay officials were supposed to be elected on October 31, 2016, but it was postponed to October 23, 2017, by virtue of Republic Act 10923.
Less than a month before the 2017 election, Duterte signed RA 10952, postponing it to May 2018.
The election of the barangay-based Sangguniang Kabataan (youth councils) has been postponed a few time as well since 2013.
The President originally wanted to postpone village election for fear that drug lords would fund candidates and eventually control the communities. Now, critics are saying his allies want the poll suspended so his administration’s planned plebiscite on revising the Constitution can piggyback on the exercise. – Rappler.com