MANILA, Philippines?The House of Representatives Wednesday agreed to push through with a consolidated bill to postpone the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK, youth council) elections this October despite Malacañang?s earlier announced position that it should proceed as scheduled.
Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga, chair of the suffrage and electoral reforms committee, expressed confidence that the House would be able to pass the law by next month, and that there was a chance the President would not veto it.
?The Speaker and the Senate President are close to the President,? he said, adding that perhaps Mr. Aquino would listen to their positions.
At a hearing at the House Wednesday, Commission of Elections Chair Jose Melo said he was amenable to any postponement agreed upon by lawmakers and Malacañang but his own preference was for it to be held in 2011 because it would be less complicated and costly for the Commission of Elections.
If the elections are synchronized with the 2013 national legislative and local elections, then it would have to be automated and this would make it a more expensive undertaking, Melo said.
If held in 2012, it would coincide with preparations for the 2013 polls, he added.
The City Mayors League was also amenable to holding the elections in October 2011, but the Liga ng mga Barangay expressed preference for October 2012. The Sangguniang Kabataan said they were fine with any year as long as it was held in October.
Earlier, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile said he preferred it synchronized with the legislative midterm elections in 2013.
At any rate, the House representatives agreed to consolidate 21 bills and two resolutions seeking the postponement of the barangay polls from October 2010 for a future date.
The law sets the holding of the barangay and SK elections on the last Monday of October.
Minority Leader Edcel Lagman said proponents of bills to postpone the barangay polls believe the village electoral contests, coming so close to the just concluded national polls, would divide the country anew.
Earlier, Deputy Minority Leader Danilo Suarez said lawmakers wanted to postpone the polls to give themselves a ?breather from local politicians knocking on their doors for (financial) assistance.? With a report from Leila Salaverria