Winners of the October 2023 barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections will only have a 2-year term following a Supreme Court decision declaring Republic Act 11935 unconstitutional.
RA11935, signed into law by President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. in October last year, moved the schedule of the polls from December 5, 2022 to the last Monday of October 2023, supposedly to create savings amounting to billions of pesos.
In its decision, the Supreme Court declared unconstitutional the law which postponed the holding of the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (BSK) Elections (BSKE), from its initial schedule of December 5, 2022 to the last Monday of October 2023, but recognizes the legal practicality and necessity of proceeding with the conduct of the BSKE on the last Monday of October 2023, pursuant to the operative fact doctrine.
Because RA 11935 was declared unconstitutional, SC said its predecessor, RA 11462, is revived, which limits the term to December 31, 2022.
All existing barangay and SK officers are deemed to be in a "hold-over" capacity.
To avoid confusion, the high court made clear that the next BSKE will be held on the 1st Monday of December 2025 and every 3 years after that date.
Commission on Elections Chairman George Garcia said the shorter time period between the October 2023 and the December 2025 elections means those elected in the barangay and SK polls this year will have shorter terms.
He said Comelec is "95 percent ready" for the October 2023 polls, saying it needs to print more ballots and train teachers for the elections.
The filing of certificates of candidacy scheduled on August 28 to September 2 will continue, he added.
"Tuloy na tuloy na ang October 30 [elections]," he said in an ABS-CBN "Sakto" interview.
A command conference will also be held with the Armed Forces and Philippine National Police to discuss the peace and order situation and "check which areas should be placed under Comelec control or deemed as areas of serious concern," the Comelec chief said.
Meanwhile, the poll chief said Comelec will decide on a proposal to postpone the BSKE in Negros Oriental by the last week of September or he first week of October.
Nine Negros Oriental mayors earlier cited security-related reasons, including a "deep-rooted fear" among the province's residents after the murder of Gov. Roel Degamo, for the need to postpone the elections.
"Postponing the elections will allow us... to dismantle the culture of fear, instill confidence in the voters, and ensure a truly free and fair electoral environment," the mayors said in a statement Sunday, adding that the said fear was undermining the electoral process in Negros Oriental.