Bill postponing barangay elections passed on second reading | Inquirer News

Bill postponing barangay elections passed on second reading

/ 10:11 AM September 07, 2016

The proposal to postpone the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections was passed on second reading Tuesday night, just hours after it hurdled the committee level at the House of Representatives.

On Twitter, suffrage and electoral reforms committee chairman Cibac Rep. Sherwin Tugna announced the immediate passage by viva voce (voice voting) of the bill, which is targeted to be approved on third and final reading on Sept. 12.

“At the moment: Congress approved on 2nd reading the bill rescheduling barangay elections to October 2017,” Tugna tweeted.


READ: Bill postponing barangay, SK polls hurdles committee level


The postponement is in line with administration’s move to sweep out barangay chairpersons alleged to be coddlers of drug suspects.

Interior Secretary Mike Sueno had said he supports some lawmakers’ proposal to allow President Rodrigo Duterte to appoint competent barangay OICs.

READ: Sueno backs move to replace drug-tainted barangay heads with OICs

But the amended draft of the bill however retained the hold-over capacity of incumbent barangay and SK officials until the next elections next year.

“All incumbent officials shall remain in office,” the amended bill read.

The postponement would also allow the president to have a free hand in filling up the vacancies in the bureaucracy and avoid the elections ban of 45 days before a regular election and 30 days before a special election as stated in the Omnibus Election Code


Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez even raised the possibility of using the period of postponement to study legislation to abolish the barangay kagawad and SK for being useless.

READ: Alvarez backs postponing barangay, SK polls to avoid election ban | Alvarez: Abolish SK, barangay councilors

On Tuesday, the committee adopted House Bill 3384 filed by Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez as the working draft of the substitute bill.

In the bill authored by Speaker Alvarez and majority floor leader Ilocos Norte Rep. Rudy Fariñas, the village and SK polls this year would be deferred to the fourth Monday of October next year or October 23, 2017.

The House version of the bill would be similar to the bill filed at the Senate for the postponement, Fariñas had said.

The bill also sets the next elections after 2017 to the second Monday of May in 2020, and three years thereafter.

Tugna said this amendment seeks to rectify the erroneous schedule of synchronizing the barangay and SK elections with the national presidential and midterm elections.

“Take note, yung halalan ng Mayo cannot and will not coincide sa regular elections, national and presidential. Ibang taon na. May patlang patlang na taon,” Tugna said.

“Mas maganda ang magiging turn-out para mas mapakinggan natin ang boses ng taumbayan,” he added.

(Take note, the May elections cannot and will not coincide with the regular elections, national and presidential. That would be in a different year. There will be gaps.

The turn-out would be better so we would hear the voice of the public.)

During the committee hearing, deputy speaker Marikina Rep. Miro Quimbo said the barangay and SK elections should not coincide with the national elections because it would cause “election fatigue” among the constituents.

Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman Andres Bautista said the poll body has spent P200 million of its P7 billion budget for the barangay and SK elections.

He added that some 411,000 ballots have been printed which he hoped the poll body could still use by printing over the 2016 date in the ballot with the date of next year’s elections.

During the meeting with members of the House last Tuesday about the bill, Fariñas said the elections would be scheduled at least one week before the celebration of All Saint’s Day or Undas.

READ: House eyes postponement of SK, barangay polls to Oct. 23, 2017 

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The majority floor leader said the House version would have the effect of adopting the Senate version to do away with the bicameral conference, where both Houses of Congress meet to thresh out the differing versions and come up with a united proposed legislation. CDG

TAGS: Comelec, Elections, House of Representatives

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