Comelec chief wants 2022 barangay, SK elections to push through

Job Manahan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 04 2022 06:34 PM | Updated as of Aug 04 2022 06:57 PM

Voter registration resumes at the COMELEC office in Manila on June 4, 2022. Registration resumes in preparation for the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections (BSKE) on Dec. 5. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News
Voter registration resumes at the COMELEC office in Manila on June 4, 2022. Registration resumes in preparation for the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections (BSKE) on Dec. 5. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman George Garcia on Thursday called for the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan polls to push through in December 2022.

Some lawmakers earlier floated another postponement of the village and youth council elections to save funds for a stimulus bill. 

Garcia said he was "pro-election" because this was a mark of a "healthy" democracy. 

"Diyan, nakakapagpalit tayo ng mga leader na ayaw na natin at mapapanatili natin ang ating mga leader na gusto naman nating mamahala at magtuloy sa pamamahala doon sa ating mga lugar," he said in a televised public briefing. 
 
(It allows us to replace leaders we no longer want and retain those who we want to continue governing in our area.) 

"Para po sa akin (for me), personally, I try to convince everyone in the Comelec and likewise our honorable members of Congress to proceed with the conduct of SK and Barangay Elections," Garcia added. 

But he said the Comelec would follow the decision of lawmakers. 

"Siyempre kami po ay tatalima sa kung ano ang [iaatas] sa atin ng ating [Kongreso] sapagkat sila ang may absolute discretion sa ating umiiral na batas sa ating Konstitusyon para sabihin kung itutuloy o hindi ang atin pong eleksyon," he said. 

(Of course, we will adhere with the direction of our Congress because they have absolute discretion on our law, to say whether or not we should push through with our election.) 

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Video from PTV

The manual December election has a budget of P8.4 billion, of which only a "very small percentage" has been spent so far, said Garcia. 

If the election is reset, Garcia said, "Sigurado po ay magagamit at magagamit pa rin natin iyang mga mapo-procure namin na mga kagamitan." 

(For sure, we will still be able to use the paraphernalia we procured for the SK and village elections.)

"Kung sakaling mabawasan namin iyong 8.4 billion ng kaunting halaga, siyempre po iyong hihingin na namin na budget para sa 2023 patungkol sa SK and barangay election ay kaunting-kaunti na lang o baka nga po hindi na dahil iyon pong matitira ay maaaring sapat na," he said. 

(In case we have spend part of the P8.4 billion, the budget we will seek in 2023 for the SK and village elections will be small or maybe we will no longer ask for more because the balance could be enough.) 

The last barangay and SK elections were held in May 2018. 

Their potential postponement could impact preparations for the 2025 midterm elections, Comelec earlier said. 

Around 2.9 million new voters have registered for the December polls, Comelec data showed.