Senate ready to decide fate of barangay, SK polls
Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III yesterday said the Senate would decide on the postponement of the barangay and the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections in August amid calls from several lawmakers to finally push through with the local balloting after several deferments.
Pimentel said he already spoke with Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez on the matter. “I told the Speaker we want (the) House to act first on this,” he told reporters in a text message from France, where he and eight other senators were making a parliamentary visit.
Sen. Bam Aquino yesterday said the youth elections must push through in October this year so that the country can start producing a fresh breed of better public servants and the youth be given a chance to contribute to the country’s development.
Opposing plans to defer anew the youth elections, Aquino yesterday said it was high time that the government rolls out “the new and improved” SK following the enactment of Republic Act No. 10742 or the Sangguniang Kabataan Reform Act last year.
The law seeks to strengthen and empower the SK and transform it into a useful conduit for youth involvement in community development.
“Eight postponements are enough…The new and improved SK will give the youth a chance to contribute to the development of the country and emerge as better public servants in the future,” Aquino said in a statement.
“The SK is an opportunity to go beyond the streets, beyond social media and really work on programs to change their communities for the better,” he added.
Senate minority leader Franklin Drilon yesterday said he was not in favor of postponing anew the barangay and youth elections. “We have already postponed the elections. Let us allow our people the opportunity to choose their local leaders through an open and honest election,” he said.
Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian said he wanted to know what happened to the original premise of postponing the barangay elections, which was to remove officials involved in illegal drugs.
“Did we file cases against erring barangay officials? How did we remove them? How many are really involved?” he asked, suggesting that senators be given an executive briefing by the drug agencies to know exactly who are involved in the illegal drug trade.
On Tuesday, Drilon expressed doubt that Congress would be able to decide by next month the postponement of the local balloting.
Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chair Andres Bautista had urged lawmakers to act immediately on the issue by July so that the election body would know whether or not to slow down on its preparations and avoid wasting funds. JPV