'Physically impossible' for Senate to defer barangay, SK polls: Sotto

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 13 2018 09:06 AM

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MANILA - It is "physically impossible" for the Senate to postpone May's barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections to October, Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III said Tuesday.     

A House of Representatives committee on Monday voted in favor of postponing the elections. 

A counterpart bill for deferring the polls, however, has yet to be filed at the Senate as most of its members oppose the measure, Sotto told DZMM. 

He added that even if a counterpart measure reaches the upper chamber, senators cannot finish committee hearings and approve the bill with just days to go before Congress goes on summer break starting March 22. 

"Physically impossible [na maipasa] unless ise-certify na urgent at saka kami'y biglang io-overtime namin ito. E karamihan nga sa amin hindi ito gusto. Medyo mahirap na mapagbigyan sila dito," Sotto said. 

(It is physically impossible unless this is certified as urgent and are ordered to render overtime for hearings. Most of us, however, are not in favor of this. It will be difficult to allow the lower chamber to have their way here.) 

Several congressmen have pushed for the postponement of the October polls so Congress could focus on the proposed charter change that will pave the way for a federal system of government. 

Should Congress approve the postponement, it would be the third time for the village elections to be moved. The barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections were originally scheduled on October 2016, which was moved to October 2017. It was again reset to May 2018.

In 2016, President Rodrigo Duterte urged his allies in the legislature to move the polls to a later date, claiming it may be rigged by barangay officials who are involved in the illegal drug trade. 

Since he assumed power, several barangay officials have been arrested for drug involvement.