CITING “overwhelming” support for postponing the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections this October, Sen. Sonny Angara yesterday said the polls are likely to be reset.
He made the remark after hearing the testimony of Interior Secretary Mike Sueno, Commission on Elections officials, and other concerned individuals supporting the proposal to reset the two local polls.
Angara, chairman of the Senate Committee on Local Government, yesterday conducted a public hearing on three proposed Senate measures aimed at resetting the barangay and SK elections from the original schedule of October 31, 2016 to the last Monday of October 2018.
“If passed, the terms of the barangay officials would be extended to five years from the current three years,” he said. Similar measures were filed by Senators Alan Peter Cayetano (SBN 1037), and Joel Villanueva (SBN 1041).
Asked whether he sees a postponement of the Barangay and SK elections, Angara said: “I think, very likely na mapo-postpone. Given that there’s overwhelming support. Akala ko kasi dito lang sa Kongreso ‘yung support.”
“But after hearing the resource persons, pati ‘yung executive (department), si DILG Secretary Mike Sueno na sabi nga nila ay alter-ego ng Presidente (Rodrigo Duterte), ay nagsalita na in favor sila sa postponement dahil ayaw naman nilang nakatiwangwang lang ang ma proyekto kasi magkaka-election ban na naman. Parang sabi nila, sayang ‘yung panahon,” he said.
“Actually, maraming rason. Isa nga, ‘pag nagkaroon ng dalawang eleksyon sa loob ng isang taon, mayroon tayong project ban or election ban on projects for almost six months. Nagkaroon tayo ng May elections pagkatapos ito panibagong 90 days na naman so maaantala ‘yung mga programa ng gobyerno,” he said.
He added: “At iyung PNP at AFP na ginagamit sa mga mahahalagang tungkulin sa kani-kanilang lugar, halos 90-95 percent nung serbisyo natin, ay magagamit sa eleksyon for 30 days before and for another 15 days after. So for at least 45 days, they will be focused on election-related matters.”
Asked about the probable new schedule if the two polls are postponed, Angara replied: “Iyung prevailing sentiment seems to be na magka-eleksyon na lang tayo ng barangay sa 2017. Ang tanong na lang kung Mayo o Oktubre gagawin dahil may nagsabi na mahihirapan sila pag Oktubre dahil maulan.”
Pressed to comment on the proposal of Comelec not to reset the barangay and SK polls to 2018 which is “too close” to the 2019 mid-term elections, Angara said: “Mukhang one year ang lumalabas dito.”
“Parang one year seems to be the popular choice whether it’s the Comelec, whether it’s the local officials. Pati ‘yung DILG, sabi nila, huwag lang ipagsabay ‘yung dalawang eleksyon sa isang taon, okay naman sila,” he said.