House OKs bill postponing barangay, SK polls

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 19 2018 06:41 PM

The House of Representatives approved on third and final reading Monday House Bill 7378, postponing the May 2018 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) Elections to the 2nd Monday of October 2018.

If this becomes law, this will be the third postponement of the barangay and SK polls. The Senate, however, has expressed coldness to the proposals.

A total of 164 congressmen outvoted the 27 who opposed the measure. The Secretariat corrected its earlier announcement of a result of 211 to 29.

Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman issued the following explanation: "Twice the barangay and SK elections have been postponed by the present administration for no overriding reasons, even as in the past village polls were also repeatedly reset.These postponements are mockery of the right of suffrage and subversive of the republican system.I vote NO to a third postponement of the barangay and SK elections. Another postponement is inordinately offensive to the right of suffrage. It is not only grossly aggravating, it is also patent recidivism."

Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano also said: "The arguments to justify the postponement are shaky at best."

"Election is a fundamental requirement of a democracy. It is a manifestation of democracy in action as it affirms to the citizens that their right to choose their leaders is intact. As representatives of the people, we are charged to protect and promulgate this right, not trample on it," he added.

According to Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate, the third postponement sets a "bad and dangerous" precedent. 

"Another postponement, especially this one, is a bad and dangerous precedent, a recipe for ad infinitum tinkering with our peoples' right to elect their local barangay and youth leaders. This is not what our people truly want. We should oppose this, especially for the wrong but equally dubious and dangerous reason advanced by its proponents: to synchronize it with the CHACHA plebiscite. This is an even poisonous recipe for our people. This will not only lead to NO-EL in 2019 and term extensions for the incumbents, worse it may even lead to another dark era of authoritarianism in our country. A Marcosian deja vu!" he said.

The barangay and SK elections were last held in 2013.