Solons want to study suspension of polls

By: Fe Marie Dumaboc, Nestle L. Semilla March 28,2017 - 09:46 PM

Caminero okay with suspending elections but not appointing officials

Most of Cebu’s legislators were non-committal about the Duterte administration’s plans to suspend this year’s barangay elections.

Reps. Gwendolyn Garcia, Ramon “Red” Durano VI and Peter John Calderon of Cebu’s 3rd district, 5th district and 7th district respectively said they have yet to study the bill filed by Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers for this purpose.

“I haven’t seen the draft of the bill yet. I’ll reserve my comment until I have gone over it,” Durano said.

Calderon said it is too early to give comments since Congress has yet to reopen in July this year.

Barbers proposed for the postponement of the 2017 barangay and Sanggunian Kabataan (SK) elections to May 2020 and subsequent elections to May 2023 and three years thereafter.

Barbers said this would allow the President to appoint the barangay officials and prevent drug syndicates from funding candidates they can use to expand their operations and network.

Sen. Sonny Angara, who chairs the Senate committee on local governments, said he is open to the postponement of the barangay and SK elections along with President Duterte appointing the barangay officials.

But he would like to know if the Barbers bill won’t violate the Constitution, specifically the Omnibus Election Code and the Local Government Code.

Rep. Wilfredo Caminero of Cebu’s 2nd district said he won’t mind the postponement of the barangay and SK elections this year as long as an election will be held soon.

“Actually it’s better to postpone the elections rather than appointing barangay officials,” Caminero said.

Deliberations on the bill will take time, he said.

Caminero said he doesn’t like the idea of appointing barangay officials since it has no legal basis.

“Basta ang importante mag-eleksiyon, dili mag-appoint (Whata’s important is that elections should take place and there won’t be any appointment of officials),” he said.

Barbers’ bill seeks to amend Republic Act 10923 passed by Congress last year that postponed the October 2016 barangay elections to the fourth Monday of October 2017.

Barbers’ bill seeks to further postpone the village polls elections to the fourth Monday of May 2020, and every three years thereafter.

The bill also states that all incumbent officials should be deemed terminated upon the passage of the bill, thus allowing President Duterte to fill up all barangay posts with his appointees.

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TAGS: appointing, Durano, solons, suspension, want

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