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Lobregat: Barangay, SK polls good as postponed

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The super majority in the House of Representatives have decided on Monday afternoon to postpone Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections scheduled on October 23,2017.

With a vote of 104 against 96, the majority decided to move the said electoral process to May 2018, and for the incumbent barangay officials to stay in their posts in a hold-over capacity.

Breaking the news early morning yesterday in eMedia, Congressman Celso L. Lobregat revealed that prior to the final decision, several manifestations were made and deliberated upon during the caucus called by House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.

“Definitely it will be postponed.It is as good as done.Definitely the incumbents will have a hold over capacity.It was very overwhelming in the house as everyone present was also very apprehensive of appointing barangay officials. Pecha yalang decidi afterwards,” Lobregat said.

The main issue in the caucus was the postponement of the polls which the majority easily favored.

Lobregat said that when the second issue on appointment was raised, nobody stood in favor.However, when asked about a possible hold-over capacity for incumbent barangay officials, majority stood up and voted in favor.

There was a discussion about the options of the postponement in which Congressman Lobregat was called as one of those four proponents to justify their respective reasons why and when the Barangay and SK elections be postponed.

Lobregat revealed that four options were presented to the members of the house. Congressman El Rey Villafuerte proposed to conduct the electoral process on May 2020,Lobregat proposed an option to move it on October 2019, while Congressman Rolando Andaya, Jr. proposed to move it to October of 2018 or May 2018.

Lobregat explained that he proposed October 2019 for the reason that only a few months remain from now until May or October of 2018. “It is very close to the local elections. Doing it in 2019 is more favorable as elections of local officials are done and the period is not that long to retain incumbent barangay officials in their posts.” Lobregat said.

However, when the voting was done, over a hundred voted to hold the barangay elections on May 2018 while a close number of 96 voted to move it to October 2019.

“Even though we have finalized our decision in that caucus, it can still change on the floor and can be affected in the exact date of the postponement. This issue will be discussed in the bicameral meeting with the senate and they may also have their own version on the matter, but its good as final,” Lobregat said.

House Committee on Suffrage Chairman, Congressman Sherwin Tugna said that the Congressmen are looking at synchronizing the elections with the plebiscite for the proposed law creating a Bangsamoro entity.

Tugna said he expects the Senate to also hold a caucus in the coming weeks to discuss their own take on the matter. He also expects the two chambers to meet very soon to finalize the postponement of the barangay and SK polls.

Duterte earlier signed a law postponing the barangay elections from October 2016 to October 2017. The President has again called for the postponement of the polls, citing the supposed threat of drug money influencing the elections. (Dexter Yap/PR)




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