Aquino moves Sangguniang Kabataan polls to 2016

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

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Aquino moves Sangguniang Kabataan polls to 2016
Comelec spokesman James Jimenez says this allows the poll body to focus on preparations for the Philippine's national and local elections in May 2016

MANILA, Philippines – President Benigno Aquino III signed a law to move the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) or youth council elections to October 2016, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said Thursday, March 26.

In a phone interview with Rappler, Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said the law schedules the SK elections on October 31, 2016, the last Monday of that month.

The law, Republic Act 10656, synchronizes the SK elections with the barangay or village elections. 

Jimenez said the Comelec got this news on Thursday morning, and is set to promulgate a resolution “pushing” RA 10656.

Quoted by state-run broadcaster PTV, Jimenez also said the postponement will allow the Comelec to “be more focused on the 2016 elections.” He said this matters “especially now that we need all hands on deck to the possible scuttling of the use of the voting machines.”

Jimenez was referring to the Supreme Court (SC) order to temporarily stop the repair of precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines. The SC issued the temporary restraining order after critics assailed a P268.8-million ($6.08-million) deal between the Comelec and technology provider Smartmatic. 

The SK elections will happen 5 months after the Philippines’ 3rd automated elections in May 2016, which the High Court’s TRO placed in limbo.

Designed as a youth council under the Local Government Code, the SK is the subject of calls for reform because it has reportedly bred corruption. (READ: Why the Sangguniang Kabataan needs an overhaul) – Rappler.com

*US$1 = P42.21

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Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II is a senior multimedia reporter covering religion for Rappler. He also teaches journalism at the University of Santo Tomas. For story ideas or feedback, email pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.