Senate: ‘Physically impossible’ to OK barangay polls postponement

Camille Elemia
Senate: ‘Physically impossible’ to OK barangay polls postponement
Congress has only 5 session days left, as it is set to go on break from March 24 to May 13. The elections are scheduled on May 14.

MANILA, Philippines – With only two weeks left before Congress goes on recess, it would be impossible for the Senate to pass the measure seeking to postpone the barangay elections from May to October this year.

Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III and Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III said there is not much time left for the chamber to discuss it, considering many senators oppose the measure. As of posting, there is no counterpart bill filed in the Senate.

“Wala sa agenda ‘yung barangay elections…medyo masikip sa amin. Gustuhin man namin, una sa lahat, karamihan sa amin ‘di pabor. Ipagpalagay natin na gusto naming pagbigyan ang House counterparts at ilalagay, makakarating sa amin, kailangan mag-hearing kami,” Sotto told radio network dzMM on Tuesday, March 13.

(It’s not on our agenda. It’s a little tight in our case. Even if we want it, first of all, most of us are against it. Let’s just say we want to give in to our House counterparts and put it in the agenda, we would still have to conduct hearings once it reaches us.)

“Physically impossible unless i-certify as urgent, at saka kami bigla mag-o-overtime. Karamihan nga sa ‘tin ‘di gusto. Mahirap – mahirap pagbigyan ito,” he added.

(It’s physically impossible unless it’s certified as urgent, then we’ll suddenly work overtime. But many of us are against it. Difficult – it’s difficult to accommodate it.)

Pimentel said they would treat the measure “normally,” and would conduct the usual hearings, if ever they do tackle it.

“We will treat it normally…. Iba pamamalakad namin dito. Ire-refer namin sa committee on local government, maghi-hearing (We have a different system here. We will refer it to the committee on local government, there will be hearings),” the Senate President said.

Asked about the issue of time, Pimentel only said, “Kayo na mag-compute kung may oras pa (You compute if there is still time).”

Congress has only 5 session days left, as it is set to go on break from March 24 to May 13. The elections is set to be held on May 14.

On Monday, March 12, the House committee on suffrage approved proposals to postpone the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections originally set for May 14  to October 8, 2018 – a move seen to push for the plebiscite for the new constitution.

Should the committee’s vote be approved at plenary and passed into law, it would be the 3rd time the barangay elections will be postponed. – Rappler.com 

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Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation issues, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email camille.elemia@rappler.com