'Practical' to postpone barangay, SK elections – Alvarez

MANILA, Philippines – Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said on Thursday, August 25, he is in favor of proposals to postpone the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections slated for October 2016 to a later date, as lawmakers filed measures to make this possible.

President Rodrigo Duterte himself is in favor of postponing the polls. In a press conference early Thursday morning, he said another election would cost the government "millions" of pesos, which he would rather save.

"Well, considering that the executive branch still has to do more appointments – they're not done with their screening process – I think it's only practical to postpone the elections because we know that we can't appoint or remove positions during an election period," Alvarez said in a mix of English and Filipino.

Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, an ally of President Rodrigo Duterte, has already filed a bill seeking to move the barangay and SK elections from the originally scheduled October 31, 2016 to the last Monday of October 2018. 

At the same time, he wants to extend the terms of current barangay and SK officials to 5 years from the current 3 years.

Similar bills and resolutions have been filed at the House of Representatives.

Alvarez himself plans to file a joint resolution calling for the postponement, but has yet to decide when would be the best time to move the elections.

"Yes, initially I'll file a joint resolution. But if we need a law, that's okay, too," said Alvarez.

But given that the upcoming barangay and SK elections is about two months away, and the Commission on Elections has started printing ballots for the exercise, does Congress have enough time to enact the necessary law or resolution?

"We still have a lot of time for that. That's still a long period," said Alvarez. – with a report from Patty Pasion/Rappler.com

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the Senate and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.