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Government to lose P1 B if barangay polls postponed — Comelec

(The Philippine Star) - August 1, 2017 - 4:00pm

MANILA, Philippines - At least P1 billion in government funds will be wasted if Congress will postpone the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections on Oct. 23, an official of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said yesterday. 

Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said Congress should immediately decide if the elections will push through before the poll body continues with the preparations, including the ballot printing. 

“We’re trying to minimize the possibility of wasting money. We are not only talking here about the printing of ballots; we also have to purchase supplies,” said Jimenez. 

The printing of official ballots was originally set on July 20.

Jimenez said two weeks is the “deadliest deadline” for Congress to pass the law postponing the elections.

“We will pursue the ballot printing, whatever happens, by the second week of August, except if they have already come up with a decision,” Jimenez said.

Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said Comelec officials should not pressure Congress to act on pending bills on the postponement of the barangay and SK elections.

“The minority is against it. We want the elections to take place. For us, it’s a good policy to  regularly renew your mandate. That is the essence of democracy,” Drilon said.

Sen. Panfilo Lacson said the Comelec should have prepared in advance.

“Relying on Congress to pass legislation for yet another postponement is the deadliest assumption they could depend on,” said Lacson.

Senators Sherwin Gatchalian and Ralph Recto said Congress needs time to scrutinize proposals to postpone the elections.

Meanwhile, Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman said replacing barangay officials with appointive officers-in-charge is a “blatant violation” of the Constitution and barangay election law.

“They are installed by electoral mandate, not by appointment,” Lagman said.

Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III said they would ask President Duterte to certify the urgent approval of  bills seeking to postpone the barangay and SK elections. – Sheila Crisostomo, Marvin Sy, Delon Porcalla

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