âBarangay, SK polls may be held in May 2023â
During a public hearing at the Senate, Marcos said there is a need to postpone the polls in May 2020 to prevent a similar experience in May 2010, in which some voters raised several complaints.

‘Barangay, SK polls may be held in May 2023’

Cecille Suerte Felipe (The Philippine Star) - September 11, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — An overwhelming majority of stakeholders are supportive of postponing the May 2020 barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections to May 2023, Sen. Imee Marcos said yesterday.

During a public hearing at the Senate, Marcos said there is a need to postpone the polls in May 2020 to prevent a similar experience in May 2010, in which some voters raised several complaints.

“Done na po ang postponement (of the barangay and SK elections), ano na lang ang (what would be the) date?” said Marcos, who presided the hearing by the joint committee on electoral reforms and people’s participation joint with constitutional amendments and revision of codes, local government and finance.

“I think we’ve heard everyone when it comes to the postponement (of the barangay election set in May 2020). It seems an overwhelming majority say it should be held in May 2023,” she added.

“Nagsabi na ang (Commission on Elections) na ’yung October 2022 ay masyadong dikit sa 2022 presidential elections at baka ’di rin maganda ang performance kasi ’yan din ang nangyari nung 2010. Maraming SK ang ’di nakaboto at medyo magulo sa barangay,” she added.

In his fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA) in July, President Duterte called on lawmakers to pass a bill postponing the May 2020 barangay and SK polls to 2022 to give more time for elected officials to complete their programs and projects after the elections held in 2018.

Marcos, however, said the committee also recognized the opinion of Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, who pointed out that the barangay and SK elections should be moved from May 2020 to May 2021.

Drilon said holding the polls in May 2021 was “reasonable” as it would allow incumbent barangay and SK officials to complete their term of three years, as stated under the Local Government Code.

“If we postpone it and complete the three years of officials, it means the elections will be held in May 2021 which is one year before the May 2022 national elections,” he said.

“We should allow the present barangay officials to complete their three-year term which ends in May 2021,” he added.

Marcos asked the resource persons whether they prefer October 2022 or May 2023. Comelec Commissioner Antonio Kho said it would be difficult to hold the barangay and SK elections in October 2022, which is just five months after the May 2022 presidential elections.

Former Comelec commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal said the poll body prefers the elections to be held in May in consideration of the weather.

“May is a good time to have the elections. In October, normally, the weather is not good as compared with (the weather in) May. So Comelec prefers it in May. Even if there are classes or not,” Larrazabal said during the Senate public hearing.

Sen. Nancy Binay also pointed out reports that the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) will move the school break to August and such policy might have taken effect in 2023.

Decide soon, legislators told

Meanwhile, the Comelec yesterday asked legislators to decide soon on whether or not the May 11, 2020 barangay and SK polls will push through.

Comelec Chairman Sheriff Abas said it is better for the poll body to know if the village polls will be postponed or not as preparations have long been underway.

“We will continue to lobby for them to decide as soon as possible the law postponing the barangay and SK elections... The earlier they are able to know, the better for us,” Abas told reporters.

Abas said the Comelec can avoid spending public funds for preparations if Congress can decide soon on the fate of the twin elections. 

“We are worried about the expenses for preparations. It might be wasted... We will be going to the Senate (and) hopefully, they can decide early,” he noted.

Abas, however, gave assurance that pending Congress’ decision, Comelec would continue with its preparation “with a mindset that it will push through.”

He added that as part of the preparation, they are already making procuremement “short of award.”

“Procurement is a long process. We will not award it until we make sure there is no election,” he said. – With Sheila Crisostomo

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