THE House of Representatives and the Senate yesterday agreed in principle to defer the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) and barangay elections from October 31, 2016 to the fourth Monday of October 2017.
This was agreed after an all party caucus called by the House leadership yesterday.
Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, together with House Majority Leader and Ilocos Norte Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas and Citizens Battle Against Corruption (Cibac) party-list Rep. Sherwin Tugna, chair of the House committee on suffrage and electoral reforms, said the House agreed to adopt the Senate resolution seeking postpone the polls.
They said the House of Representatives would pass a bill on the postponement to be principally sponsored by Alvarez and co-authored by Fariñas, two other deputy speakers and Tugna.
Fariñas said the bill is going to be a “concurring bill” which will be passed by both the House and the Senate.
Tugna said his panel will convene on Monday as soon as the concurring bill is filed at the House’s Bills and Index to consolidate all proposals to postpone the conduct of the SK and village polls filed at the Lower House and make it uniform to the Senate version, principally authored by Senate President Koko Pimentel.
Fariñas said the House will pass on second reading the concurring bill anytime next week and on third reading by September 12.
He said the House approved version of the measure will then be transmitted to the Senate for approval. However, the bill will no longer have to go through bicameral conference committee deliberations.
As soon as the Senate approves the concurring bill passed by the House, this will be submitted to the Palace for President Duterte’s signature, Fariñas said.
The President is expected sign early September.
Meanwhile, the Comelec has stressed that the polls should be moved to a later date to avoid “election fatigue” in the country following the May 2016 national elections.
Angara said the postponement will give the Comelec more time to assure higher voter turnout for the barangay and SK elections while giving would-be voters the head space to fully consider who should lead their barangays.