The Commission On Elections is now considering delaying the printing of ballots for the 2017 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections.

Comelec Spokesman James Himenez explained that  In the past, the COMELEC has deliberately ramped down the pace of its Barangay Elections preparations in response to the perceived imminence of legislation to postpone the electoral exercise. “The proposal to delay printing of the ballots, therefore, is not an entirely novel idea. However, it must be noted that any slowing down of COMELEC preparations must be based on sufficiently high levels of probability of postponement, such that the postponement can no longer be considered a question of “if” but of “when.”

Jimenez added that the determination of the existence of such conditions depends solely on the judgment and discretion of the COMELEC en banc. Towards this end, the en banc is continually and actively monitoring developments related to the postponement of the elections. The public can rest assured that the COMELEC is determined to ensure that, in the fulfillment of its mandate, it  also remains a faithful steward of the people’s treasure.

For his part,  ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio  told off Comelec for urging Congress to act on bills postponing barangay elections: “It’s inappropriate for Comelec to urge the postponement of elections, since it’s basic mandate is to implement elections laws, which includes ensuring that they take place as scheduled. “

Tinio also rebutted proposals to postpone the election again, which was already postponed from last year.  “As to the proposal itself. A second postponement would be utterly unjustifiable. The basic democratic principle of electoral mandate with clearly defined terms of office must be upheld. Moreover, the additional proposal of replacing barangay officials with presidential appointees would be highly problematic, given the anti-democratic tendencies displayed by Malacañang at this point, notably the declaration of martial law in Mindanao and the appointment of scores of ex-military officials in government.”

President Duterte had expressed preference for postponing the election once again to allow him to purge the ranks of village executive allegedly involved in the narcotics trade.

This prompted the filing of several bills in both houses of Congress to this effect.