House panel vows to scrutinize resetting of barangay, SK polls

MANILA-- The House committee on suffrage and electoral reforms has vowed to scrutinize proposals seeking to postpone the barangay (village) and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections in October.

In a statement on Friday, CIBAC Partylist Rep. Sherwin Tugna, chairperson of the committee, said the panel will study thoroughly House Bills 5359, 5361 and 5380 to ensure the rationality and constitutionality of these proposals.

In line with the anti-drug campaign of the Duterte administration, the three House bills are aimed at cleansing drug-infested villages.

As the chairman of the committee on suffrage and electoral reforms, I assure everyone that we will study and dissect the proposals concerning the postponement of elections and the appointment of officers-in-charge who will manage the affairs of the barangays, said Tugna.

"We need to weigh the intent of the bills, which is to address the widespread use and trade of illegal drugs in the barangays, and what the Constitution states. We have to make sure that these bills do not go against the Constitution," he added.

HB 5359, authored by Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers, calls for the postponement of both polls this year to the fourth Monday of May 2020.

Under the bill, subsequent synchronized barangay and SK elections shall be held on the second Monday of May 2023 and every three years thereafter.

Upon the bill's enactment into law, incumbent barangay officials must terminated, thus allowing President Rodrigo Duterte to appoint incorruptible officers-in-charge.

There is a need to postpone the 2017 Barangay Elections to rid barangays of officials linked to illegal drug operations. The barangay election was postponed last year for the very same reason, and obviously, we have yet to consider our communities drug-free, Barbers said.

Source: Philippines News Agency