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Postponement of barangay polls still possible - Celso

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“The postponement of the upcoming barangay elections would be possible if there will be a law”, thus reacted Congressman Celso Lobregat when asked about the proposition of President Rodrigo Duterte to further postpone the said electoral process schedule on October, this year.

Congressman Lobregat said, “the possibilities for such thing to happen is open, but a law must be passed to amend the existing law as stipulated in the 1986 Philippine Constitution which determines the term of elected barangay officials.”

“Posible, pero necestia pasa un ley, hinde pwede man-postpone el barangay election without a law, and if there will be an enacted law, I’m sure this will be challenged in the Supreme Court,” Lobregat said.

Lobregat added,”If we are going to look into the constitution, Article 10, Section (8) states the specific term of elected officials. The term of office of elective local officials, except barangay officials, which shall be determined by law, shall be three years and no such official shall serve for more than three consecutive terms. Voluntary renunciation of the office for any length of time shall not be considered as an interruption in the continuity of his service for the full term for which he was elected.”

“So it’s clear that in the constitution, it says that the term of elective officials, except for the barangay, shall be determined by law, querre desir, sinuay ley, no puede conese man-postpone or cancela,” Lobregat said.

The solon said, the scheduled barangay elections in October of last year was postponedonly for one year, for a specific objective of the President in the campaign against illegal drugs.

Last year, Lobregat authored House Bill 3504 which was enacted into Republic Act 10923, An act postponing the October 2016 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections, amending for the purpose Republic Act No.9164, as amended by Republic Act no.9340 and Republic Act 10656, prescribing additional rules governing the conduct of Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections and for other purposes.

“Legal luminaries for sure will challenge in Supreme Court the interpretation, if a law is passed, about this proposition of President Duterte to postpone the barangay elections and have them appointed instead,” Lobregat added.

However, Lobregat said that Section 3 of Article 10 of the Philippine Constitution also indicates that,”The Congress shall enact local government code which shall provide for a more responsive and accountable local government structure instituted through a system of decentralization with effective mechanisms of recall, initiative, and referendum, allocate among the different local government units their powers, responsibilities, and resources, and provide for the qualifications, election, appointment and removal, term, salaries, powers, functions and duties of local officials, and all other matters relating to the organization and operation of the local units.”

“These two sections in Article 20 of the constitution should be respected and be the basis for the move to postpone the barangay elections in order not to violate the law itself,” Lobregat stressed.– Dexter Yap




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