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Solon sees approval of barangay poll delay by end of August

/ 05:41 PM August 13, 2017
Sherwin Tugna - House of Representatives- July 2017

Cibac Rep. Sherwin Tugna, chairman of the House Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms (Photo from the Cibac Facebook account)

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) should go slow in its printing of ballots for the October 2017 barangay elections because the House of Representatives expects to approve a seven-month postponement by the end of August, according to Rep. Sherwin Tugna of the Citizens’ Battale Against Corruption (Cibac) party-list.

“In the lower house, this would not reach the [time] of Christmas jingles,” Tugna, chair of the House Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms, said in a radio interview on Sunday.

In the Philippines, the Christmas season starts in September, when radio stations and shopping malls start playing Christmas songs.

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In an Aug. 7 caucus, the lawmakers agreed to push a measure postponing barangay elections to May 2018 so that it would be synchronized with the plebiscite for charter change and the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law.

On Monday, Aug. 14, Tugna’s committee will hold a hearing on the matter.

Tugna said the Comelec should take into account the proposed postponement, even as it continued to prepare elections, in case it pushes through as scheduled this October.

“They know there’s currently the possibility of postponing the elections,” Tugna said. “So, what if the printing be slowed down? Personally, I, as the chairman of the electoral reforms committee, have been coordinating with Chairman [Andres] Bautista regarding this matter.”

He said the House was hurrying to approve the measure so public funds would not be wasted in printing ballots.

In fact, Tugna said the committee might even vote at its level during Monday’s hearing so the measure could be sent to the plenary soon.

But, he stressed: “All stakeholders would be heard.”

Yet, because Bautista would be invited to the hearing, Tugna said his colleagues might not focus on the election postponement alone.

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Bautista has been accused by his estranged wife Patricia Paz of unlawfully amassing some P1 billion in cash and real estate properties and hiring “ghost consultants” when he was still chairman of the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG), a post he held from 2010 to 2015.

The poll chief was also accused of receiving commissions from the Divina Law Offices, the legal counsel of election technology provider Smartmatic.

“We cannot stop our fellow congressmen, because this is a matter of public interest because the chairman occupies a position in government which is very essential to our democracy,” Tugna said. /atm

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TAGS: 2017 barangay elections, Andres Bautista, Comelec, Sherwin Tugna
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