The House Committee on Suffrage has approved the consolidation of 6 bills seeking to postpone the 2017 October Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections to May 2018.
The committee voted 19-2, prompting Suffrage Committee Chariman Sherwin Tugna to say the motion to postpone the elections to the 2nd Monday of May 2018 is sustained.
ACT Teachers Party List Rep. Antonio Tinio and Gabriela Rep. Arlene Brosas were the 2 dissenters.
Tugna maintained that the hearing was not railroaded since dissenting lawmakers were heardm like Tinio and Akbayan Rep. Tom Villarin.
The authors of the bills are Representatives Ace Barbers, Lord Allan Velasco, Jose Panganiban, Jonatahan Sy-Alvarado, Johnny Pimentel and Winnie Castelo.
Albay rep. Edcel Lagman voiced his opposition to the measure, “this would trivialize the electoral process and would negate the sovereign will. i also disagree with using the bloody campaign against the drug menace as a reason.”
National Liga ng mga Barangay President Edgar Abesamis says barangay officials back the postponement. “the liga ng mga barangay after consultation supports the postponement
among this…the concern that drug syndicates and personalities will use drug money to ibfluence and infiltrate the election…”
Abesamis however cannot say how many of their members are involved in drugs.
Abesamis however says that their position is to reschedule the elections to after the 2019 midterm elections. “if it will be held may 2018 thats 7 months we have already started with the mechanism paano magiging effective ang campaign against illegal drugs”
PDEA representative Czareena Aquino told lawmakers that from 2011 to July 31, 2017, 266 barangay kagawads have been arrested for illegal drugs links, while 87 barangay chairmen have been arrested for the same period.
QC Rep Vincent Crisologo says that unless the election is postponed, “it is the drug money that will dominate this election. simply we do not wantt he drug money to dictate. “
Comelec Commissionner Arthur Lim says that without a law postponing the elections, the preparations will continue as scheduled. “we started printing the ballots last august 9 and the procurement for certain forms and equipment is in progress we are acting as though the elections will not be psotponeed unless there is a law in our hands the rpeparations will have to go on its normal course”
Comelec has so far spent 197M pesos in the preparations out of the over 7B earmarked for the purpose.
as of August 11, 2017, Comelec has printed the brgy and sk ballots for batanes, 15,021 pieces. 11,101 for brgy, and 3,920 for sk.”
Deputy Speaker Fredenil Castro drew some laughs when he jokingly asked Lawyer Jiselle Rae Villamor of the League of Cities if she is married. he withdrew the question amid laughter. Villamor first drew attention in the hearing because of her beauty.