House bill postponing brgy polls approved on 3rd reading

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 11 2017 03:08 PM | Updated as of Sep 11 2017 11:13 PM

MANILA - (UPDATED) The House of Representatives approved on third and final reading House Bill 6308, postponing the October 2017 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections to May 2018.

Nominal voting showed 212 voting in the affirmative, 10 negative and zero abstentions.

Lawmakers who voted against the bill were Representatives Arlene Brosas, Ariel Casilao, France Castro, Sarah Jane Elago, Raul del Mar, Ramon Rocamora, Antonio Tinio, Carlos Isagani Zarate, Gary Alejano, and Tom Villarin.

Laguna Rep. Joaquin Chipeco's vote for the bill was counted during the manifestation of the explanation of votes as he was not around during the first rounds of voting.

HB 6308 consolidates House Bills 5359, 5361, 6380, 5510, 5653 and House Resolution 905. 

The bill postpones the village and SK elections scheduled on October 23 to the 2nd Monday of May 2018, with the next election after that scheduled to the 2nd Monday of May 2020 and every 3 years thereafter. 

Those who will win in the elections of May 2018 will assume office on June 30. Incumbent will officials stay in their posts until successors have been elected.

The bill re-authorizes the use of some P901.5 million in the 2015 budget for the preparations for the rescheduled election, along with P5.9 billion allocated for the same purpose in the 2016 budget.

"Dito makikita na natin 'yung decision ng members ng House of Representatives na 'di maabala yung mga barangay captain natin at barangay officials natin sa campaign against illegal drugs. Masaya ako dahil maipagpapatuloy natin yung campaign against illegal drugs. I understand in the next few days may mangyayari din sa Senado," the bill's principal sponsor, Representative Sherwin Tugna, Chair of the House Committee on Appropriations, told reporters.

Lawmakers who voted against the bill questioned the basis of the postponement of the election.

"Mariin pong tinututulan ng representasyong ito na muli nanamang ipostpone ang barangay elections. Una pong kadahilanan ay wala pong nakikita ang representasyon na ito na matibay na basehan na naaayon sa Konstitusyon kung bakit ito ay muli nanamang i-postpone," ACT Teachers Representative France Castro said.

"Bumoto po ng 'No' ang kinatawang ito sa panukalang batas para i-postpone ang Barangay and SK elections sa dalawang simpleng kadahilanan. Una, pagkakaitan ng panukalang batas na ito ang maliit na espasyo at makikitid na espasyo ng kanilang demokratikong ehersisyo para piliin ang kanilang lider sa lokal na antas. Ang barangay bilang basic political unit ng ating gobyerno ay front line sa pagtugon ng pangangailangan ng kanyang mamamayan. The conduct of elections affords qualified voters the chance to choose new leaders, fresh mandate to serve their constituency. Ang pagpapaliban po ng eleksyong ito will prevent and will deprive their right, their constitutionally guaranteed right," Anakpawis Rep. Ariel Casilao added.

Bayan Muna Rep.Carlos Isagani Zarate also explained his vote.

"Bayan Muna voted no because it shows disrespect to the barangay as the basic unit of the political structure of the country. This decision infringes on the right to suffrage of Filipinos and deprives of the right to replace unworthy leaders in their barangays," he said.