Duterte Senate allies cool on postponing barangay polls
Even members of the majority bloc in the Senate were cool to President Rodrigo Duterte’s reported plan to postpone the barangay elections in October, one saying there should be a “more compelling” reason why it has to be suspended again.
“I am not inclined to support yet another postponement of barangay elections. There are too many postponements already and I believe it’s time we should allow the 42,036 barangays to elect their new village leaders or give those who deserve their vote of confidence to continue serving them,” Senator Panfilo Lacson said in a text message on Monday.
Senator Joel Villanueva noted that the last time they “substantially” deliberated on the proposed suspension of both barangay and SK elections, it was clear to them that the polls would push through this year.
“So we need to have a more compelling reason why we should even consider suspending it again, much more the proposed appointment (of barangay officials, instead of electing them),” Villanueva said in a separate text message.
Senator Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito took to Twitter to express his apprehensions on the proposed deferment of the barangay polls.
“I have apprehensions on postponing barangay elections as to the legal basis. We just need to clarify justification (of) the said postponement,” he wrote on his Twitter account.
“Being a former mayor myself, I understand where President Duterte’s proposal to postpone barangay eections (is coming from), to rid out drug personalities,” added Ejercito, who served as mayor of San Juan City before he became senator.
Lacson, Villanueva and Ejercito are all members of the Senate majority bloc.
Interior Secretary Ismael Sueno earlier said the President wanted the barangay polls postponed because “he does not want those financed by drug lords to win.”
But Senate President Aqulino “Koko” Pimentel II said that postponing the barangay elections requires a law, especially if the President is proposing that elected barangay officials should be replaced with appointees.
“If we will have to postpone, then this will now be the second year extension of the incumbent barangay official. I think it’s better to deem their term as expired. The law abhors a vacuum,” Pimentel said in an interview at the Senate last week.
“The appointive power is by default placed in the President. He should be able to appoint. Siyempre kailangan ng batas yan. Mandate kasi yun. Barangay office, barangay post, elective post is a public office based on public trust. ‘Yan ang principle natin. The mandate must be renewed periodically,” he further said. CBB/rga
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