Why House members want to postpone barangay, SK elections

Paterno Esmaquel II
Read the full text of the House bills seeking to postpone the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections for a 3rd time

BARANGAY ELECTIONS. The House suffrage committee, chaired by CIBAC Party-List Representative Sherwin Tugna (left), approves the postponement of the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections for the 3rd time. Screenshot from Rappler video

MANILA, Philippines – Despite opposition from various sectors, the House of Representatives’ committee on suffrage approved the postponement of the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections to October 8, from the original May 14 this year.

Four House members filed separate bills to postpone the barangay and SK polls for the 3rd time.

Two of these bills mention the need for the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to better prepare for the polls, while the two others cite preparations for a plebiscite for a new constitution, which is a priority of the Duterte administration.

Here is a detailed breakdown of the reasons cited in these 4 bills:

House Bill 7072
Filed by Surigao del Sur 2nd District Representative Johnny Pimentel on January 31

Reason cited: The Comelec and other agencies need more time due to “the coordination costs and expenses of organizing the elections,” so the barangay and SK polls should be moved to October.  

(The Comelec itself, however, said it is 100% ready to conduct the barangay and SK polls.)

Read the full text of Pimentel’s bill below:

House Bill 7128
Filed by ANAC-IP Party-List Representative Jose Panganiban Jr on February 6 

Reason cited: The barangay and SK elections should be held in October, “on the same date as the plebiscite or referendum” on the proposed federal system of government. The Comelec should also be given “enough time” to prepare credible barangay and SK polls. 

Read the full text of Panganiban’s bill below:

House Bill 7167
Filed by Oriental Mindoro 2nd District Representative Reynaldo Umali on February 13

Reason cited: “The schedule is too cramped” if the plebiscite on the new constitution will be held simultaneously with the May 14 barangay and SK elections. Postponing the barangay and SK polls to May 2019 “will give Congress more time” to change the system of government.

Read the full text of Umali’s bill below:

House Bill 7217
Filed by Samar 1st District Representative Edgar Mary Sarmiento on February 21 

Reason cited: The Comelec needs more time “to adequately prepare” for the 2019 national and local elections, so the barangay and SK polls should be moved to May 2020. 

Read the full text of Sarmiento’s bill below:

Caloocan City 2nd District Representative Edgar Erice slammed his fellow lawmakers on Monday for wanting the barangay and SK polls to coincide with the proposed plebiscite.

At bakit gusto nating magkaroon ng plebisito? Para maaprubahan ‘yung ating constitutional change na maglalaman na tayong lahat ay ma-extend ang term!” Erice said. (And why do we want a plebiscite? To approve the constitutional change that will contain a provision that will extend our terms!)

Erice said this “disturbs” democratic processes. “Hindi po ito maganda.” (This is not good.) – Rappler.com

Paterno Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.