DILG: We’re busy preparing for polls
The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Philippine National Police are now “in the thick of preparations” for the May 14 village and youth council elections, belying reports that the exercise would be postponed for a third time.
The DILG issued the statement after Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon warned of a plot to postpone the elections again to pave the way for Charter change (Cha-cha) to extend the terms of office of members of the House of Representatives and other elected officials loyal to President Duterte.
Eduardo Año, DILG officer in charge, said in a statement on Tuesday that his department and the PNP are now busy preparing for the elections.
Drilon had said administration legislators were plotting to have the village and youth council elections postponed to railroad Cha-cha and extend their terms.
Duterte allies’ bills
Two bills were filed in the House seeking to postpone the village and youth council elections to accommodate a plebiscite for a draft replacement to the 1987 Constitution.
One was filed by Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel, which seeks to defer village and youth council elections to October this year, and another was filed by Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali, which seeks to postpone it to May next year.
Pimentel and Umali, once a stalwart of the Liberal Party-led House coalition that supported former President Aquino, are loyal allies of Mr. Duterte.
Former human rights lawyer Harry Roque, presidential spokesperson, had dismissed Drilon’s scenario as “strange” and “speculative.” Roque cited an assurance that Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III gave Leyte village officials over the weekend that the village and youth council elections would push through on May 14.
Beware of scam
Año cautioned the public against individuals or groups purportedly taking nominations or applications for those interested to be officers-in-charge in villages on the premise of an election postponement.
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) also expressed optimism that the May 14 elections would push through following Malacañang’s declaration that it would be held as scheduled.
“I think this is something that the people should be aware of because the President is all too often used as an excuse to postpone the elections,” he said on Tuesday.
It was the President who pushed for the deferment of the Oct. 31, 2016 village and youth polls to Oct. 23, 2017. It was postponed again to May 14.
Through Twitter, Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said the Comelec has been preparing for the elections.
In Iligan City, Cesarve Siacor, president of the Association of Barangay Captains (ABC), said all heads of the ABC would fly to Manila for a conference to discuss the barangay elections.
“If it pushes through, we are ready,” Siacor said. —With a report from Divina Suson