LEYTE Rep. Yedda Romualdez yesterday backed the deferment of Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) and barangay elections as the supermajority will hold a caucus this Tuesday afternoon on a joint House-Senate resolution suspending the two polls.
Romualdez said she supports postponing barangay and SK polls since the country just held last May the very divisive presidential polls, suspension of the political exercises would avoid delays and slowdown of crucial economic projects as temporary bans and restrictions may be imposed during the election period, and President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte is still in the process of appointing people to fill up various positions in government.
“There is also a broad consensus among the officials of the Executive, Congress and even the Comelec (Commission on Elections) to suspend the polls,” said Romualdez, wife of former House Independent Bloc Leader and ex-Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez, in an interview.
Speaker Pantaleon “Bebot” Alvarez, secretary general of the ruling Partido Demokratikong Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), said he called his allies in the supermajority to a caucus at three in the afternoon yesterday to discuss the postponement of SK and barangay polls.
“In fact sa majority ay nagpatawag din ako ng caucus bukas (Monday) at pag-uusapan ito para mapabilis ‘yung trabaho natin,” Alvarez told a radio interview Sunday over dzMM.
In a separate talk, Citizens Battle Against Corruption (Cibac) party-list Rep. Sherwin Tugna, who chairs the House Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms, said the House of Representatives and the Senate will most likely pass a joint resolution to fast track the postponement of the SK and barangay polls from October 31, 2016 to fourth Monday of October 2017.
Tugna said he was informed by House Majority Floor Leader and Ilocos Norte Rep. Rodolfo “Rudy” Fariñas upon the instruction of Alvarez that the House leadership and Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III agreed to just pass a joint resolution to expedite the legal process instead of passing a law that would go though the ordinary legislative mill.
“I was told that passing or adopting a joint resolution will be the best option as this would shortcut the process. This is another legal process that has the same effect like passing an ordinary law,” said Tugna, a lawyer by profession.
Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone, one of the leaders of the 14-lawmaker Eastern Visayas Bloc, backed the proposal of Alvarez to abolish the SK.
“I fully support the abolition of SK. SK has not really contributed to the development of the communities and the youth sector. SK candidates are also handpicked by barangay captains, mayors, governors and congressmen. There should be other mechanisms where the voice of the youth should be heard, and on how to harness their talents,” said Evardone.
Aside from the SK, Alvarez also sought the abolition of barangay councilors, stressing they are non-performing assets (NPAs) who get paid for little work or none at all.
Some lawmakers who filed measures to postpone the 2016 SK and barangay polls include House Resolution (HR) No. 51 filed by Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers and House Bill (HB) No. 1290 sponsored by Camarines Sur Rep. LRay Villafuerte.