Watchdog: Comelec should take 'strong' position pushing for barangay, SK elections

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 02 2022 01:03 PM | Updated as of Aug 02 2022 01:38 PM

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An election watchdog on Tuesday urged the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to take a "strong" position calling for the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan polls to push through in December 2022.

"Sana magkaroon po ng strong positioning ang ating Comelec na sabihan ang Kongreso na ituloy na itong barangay at SK elections ngayong Disyembre," Legal Network for Truthful Elections (Lente) executive director Ona Caritos told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo. 

(I hope the Comelec will come up with a strong position urging Congress to push through with the December barangay and SK elections.)

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

Caritos said the potential postponement would impact preparations for the 2025 midterm elections, which a Comelec had also pointed out. 

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

The Comelec said that it was ready to comply should Congress pass a law defering the village elections.

Meanwhile, Caritos said that Lente was confident but vigilant with George Garcia's appointment as chair of the Comelec.

Garcia is a veteran poll lawyer and former counsel of President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.

Marcos' predecessor Rodrigo Duterte had named Garcia as Comelec commissioner in February, but the Commission on Appointments bypassed him. 

While a Comelec commissioner, Garcia inhibited from cases involving his previous clients, including Marcos, to dispel concerns on conflict of interest. 

"Para sa akin naman, that’s part of lawyering... But I will be inhibiting from all the cases that I handled," Garcia told reporters. 

Garcia disclosed he was also a lawyer at some point for presidential contenders, then Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso and then senators. Manny Pacquiao and Panfilo Lacson. 

"Under my watch, the Comelec will aim for meaningful reforms that will resolve issues identified by stakeholders and the voting public. These will include structural reforms that will strengthen good governance founded on accountability, transparency, and integrity," he said. 

—TeleRadyo, August 2, 2022