THE chairman of the House committee on suffrage and electoral reforms yesterday admitted that the “unofficial” sentiment of majority of his colleagues is to defer barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections, prompting him to set next week the hearings on the proposed laws calling to reset the village and SK polls.
Citizens Battle Against Corruption (Cibac) party-list Rep. Sherwin Tugna said his panel will start its hearings next week on pending measures seeking to suspend the barangay and SK elections scheduled on Oct. 31, 2016 pursuant to Section 1 of Republic Act (RA) No. 9164 as amended by RA No. 9340.
“As a result of consultations with them (majority of lawmakers), they are in favor of resetting the barangay and SK polls. But this is unofficial, we are awaiting the majority to take the official stand on the matter, possibly during a caucus. By next week, we will start our initial deliberation on the matter,” Tugna said.
A source from House leadership said Speaker Pantaleon “Bebot” Alvarez will allow the panel to hold the hearing Tuesday next week while the House committee on appropriations is deliberating the P3.35 trillion General Appropriations Bill (GAB) for 2017 because of the urgency of the matter.
In a separate interview, Leyte Rep. Yedda Marie Romualdez said she personally supports suspending the barangay and SK polls especially that the country just held last May the very divisive presidential polls.
“We can also study the proposal to ensure that necessary reforms in barangay and SK are put in place before polls for these are held,” said Romualdez.
Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers filed House Resolution (HR) No. 51 last June 30, calling for the postponement of the 2016 barangay and SK elections until Congress has determined an appropriate date for its conduct.
“The billions of pesos that can be saved by the deferment can be used for other worthwhile government projects like construction of public roads, school buildings, scholarship programs and other endeavors,” said Barbers.