Marcos seeks postponement of barangay polls to 2023

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 07 2019 07:49 PM | Updated as of Aug 07 2019 11:26 PM

MANILA - Sen. Imee Marcos on Wednesday proposed that the next barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections scheduled for May 2020 be postponed to 2023.

Marcos, chair of committee on electoral reforms, led a hearing on the proposed bills to postpone the barangay elections she and Sen. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go filed.

Marcos, in her Senate Bill No. 222, sought to postpone the barangay elections to May 2023, while Go, in his Senate Bill No. 201, proposed an October 2022 schedule.

She said after a compromise with Go, she proposed that the elections be held sometime around January or February 2023.

“Hindi pa nagkakasundo sa date, mukhang lahat sang-ayon na i-postpone na yung barangay and SK elections, dahil hindi talaga maaari na 2020,” Marcos told reporters after the hearing.

(There is no consensus yet on the date, but all seem to agree that the barangay and SK elections should be postponed, because a 2020 schedule is just not practical.)

The last barangay elections were held in May 2018 by virtue of a law signed by President Rodrigo Duterte postponing the October 2017 polls.

The same law set the subsequent barangay and SK polls to October 2020, which meant that elected officials would only serve for over two years.

“If we’re going to have [barangay elections] next year, this [would be] the shortest [term] in the history of barangay, which is only for two years,” said Liga ng mga Barangay sa Pilipinas National Director Eden Pineda.

“We are about to just implement the programs for the barangays, within a short period of time, then were going to have another election. We cannot concentrate anymore on the programs.”

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, meanwhile, proposed that the next barangay elections be held in May 2021, so that the incumbent officials would be able to complete a three-year term.

“First, we concur that the election of the barangay can have at least one-year gap with national and local elections and it’s a reasonable time to prepare,” Drilon said during the hearing.

“I think we should not keep postponing election for unreasonably long period of time. Election is necessary in order that the elected officials, like us, will have the mandate to govern.”

Commission on Elections (Comelec) commissioner Antonio Kho appealed that a one-year gap be maintained between the May 2022 national elections and the barangay elections.

Comelec Election and Barangay Affairs Department Director Toepisto Elnas Jr. said the poll body already started its preparations for a May 2020 barangay polls.

Elnas said it would be better if government would decide soon whether to postpone the elections so that the poll body could stop its preparations.