MANILA - Former President and now House Deputy Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has no problems with the House Minority Leader's proposal for the President to have the powers to remove erring barangay officials as the government seeks to postpone the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections by one year.
"So, you were asking if, as the minority says they should just be selectively removed, I don't know if my colleagues agree. To me, it's a detail. It can be assumed, it can be adopted, it can also be not adopted. The thing is, then you have to start doing a lot of evaluation and right now, since the government is still putting its bureaucracy together, there's already a lot of evaluation work being done, so you're going to add more evaluation work. But it's an issue of procedure; it's not an issue of difference in principles. If the administration really wants to do it, it can be done. It's just that it's more convenient to put it the way it is now. I mean the way it's been proposed by the majority."
Arroyo also reiterated the House majority's position on the postponement of the village polls.
"President Duterte and Speaker Alvarez are one in calling for the postponement of the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections. Alvarez said the postponement will give Congress time to abolish the SK and Barangay Kagawad posts."
Arroyo added, "The postponement is necessary. First of all, because Malacañang has not filled up all vacancies in government. If there is an election, naturally there is a prohibition on appointments and removal of those already holding office. The second reason is that Congress is also contemplating amendments to the Local Government Code."
"Speaker Alvarez wants to abolish SK because the youth cannot do their work in the SK if they are still in school. If the youth choose to give priority to SK work, they will not be able to continue their studies. Apart from this, if they are already aged 18-25, they can already run in the local elections. Besides, the youth are already well represented in Congress. One other thing is that those who run for SK positions are funded by their parents," Arroyo explained.