Duterte postpones barangay, SK polls

Ruth Abbey Gita

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has signed into law a measure postponing the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections scheduled on October 23.

Under Republic Act (RA) 10952 inked on October 2, the President moved the barangay and SK polls to the second Monday of May 2018.

"Subsequent synchronized barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections shall be held on the second Monday of May 2018 and every three years thereafter," the newly-signed law read.

The law said incumbent village executives shall remain in office until their successors shall have been duly elected or unless they have been removed or suspended.

The new set of barangay and SK officials who will be elected in May 2018 would assume office on June 30 of same year.

RA 10952 provided that the fund for the twin elections, which amounted to P6,090,324,325.16, shall be considered as continuing appropriations and shall be used exclusively for the conduct of the barangay and SK registration and the midterm elections in May next year.

Congress has approved a bill seeking to move the village and youth councils elections following Duterte's persistent claims that drug syndicates would take advantage on the possible resumption of the twin polls.

In October 2016, Duterte also signed into law moving the twin elections from October 31, 2016 to October 23, 2017, citing reason that 40 percent of villages had already been contaminated by illegal drugs.

Months before the anticipated village and youth councils polls on October 23, Duterte has expressed fears that candidates for the upcoming elections wouldbuse drug money for their respective campaigns.

The Chief Executive, whose campaign promise is to rid the country of drug menace, has repeatedly said that "drug people will win," if barangay and SK elections push through on October 23.

"I'm telling you: If you call for a barangay election now, the drug people will win. They have the money, they can buy the municipal mayors who are really into it. It will begin to produce more shabu so they can win," he said in a speech delivered on August 16. (SunStar Philippines)