Pimentel: Senators to study legality of postponing barangay polls
Senators have yet to study the constitutionality and legality of President Rodrigo Duterte’s proposal to postpone the barangay election this October and appoint barangay officials, instead of electing them, Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III said on Monday.
Pimentel said nine of 24 senators met Sunday night but no agreement was reached on the President’s proposal.
“There will be some fact-finding. Tatanungin namin siya (we will ask) what he wants and then if it can be legally done, why not?” Pimentel said in an interview at the Senate.
“I cannot announce the result of the meeting… pero ang lumalabas talaga na usapan dun if it can be constitutionally done, why not? Yung pag-postpone at pag-appoint. Ang concern lang namin, constitutional ba? And then kung constitutional ba, why not? Wisdom na ‘yun e, legality and then wisdom,” he added.
(What really came out of the meeting was that if postponing and appointing can be constitutionally done, why not? Our only concern is if it’s constitutional. And then if it’s constitutional, why not? It’s his wisdom, legality and then wisdom.)
But what if the President’s proposal was unconstitutional? Then Pimentel said: “We have to change the Constitution. Pero there’s no conclusion yet.”
He said he would seek a meeting first with Interior Secretary Ismael Sueno or the President himself to ask for more details of the proposal.
On the issue of postponing the barangay election, Pimentel said their “gut” feeling was that it could be done since it has already been done before.
So the only question now is whether the President can appoint the barangay officials, he said.
“Sa Constitution kasi pinasa na niya ‘yung details of the barangay sa law e (In the Constitution, he’s already passed the details of the barangay in the law). The nitty gritty of the barangay, including the terms are passed by the Constitution to the legislature,” said the Senate leader.
Under the Constitution, he said, the term of a local official should be three years except the barangay officials, whose term shall be fixed by law.
“So ibig sabihin nun (that means), that provision manifests the desire of the Constitution makers to pass to the legislature almost all the details regarding the barangay,” he said.
“Basta ‘pag barangay matters (if it’s barangay matters), that is legitimately the subject matter of the legislature,” the Senate leader added. JE/rga
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