House panel postpones barangay, SK polls anew

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The bill passed in the House panel will allows incumbent barangay officials to hold office until the second Monday of May 2018. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 14) — A House panel approved Monday the postponement of the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections until May 2018.

The proposed measure was approved by the House Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms in a vote, 19-2.

The bill will allow incumbent barangay officials to hold office until the second Monday of May 2018.

President Rodrigo Duterte requested Congress to grant him the power to appoint barangay officials, for him to combat the proliferation of drugs at the barangay level.

Read more: Duterte eyes appointment, not election, of barangay officials

However, the house panel denied President Duterte's request.

Early into his administration, Duterte signed a law that moved the barangay elections from Oct. 31, 2016 to Oct. 23, 2017, saying that "drug money will seep into the electoral protest."

But a caucus of the House of Representatives on August 7 agreed to once again postpone the barangay and SK elections to 2018.

Duterte said 40 percent of sitting officials are involved in the drug trade. Authorities say that some 20,000 of the country's 42,000 barangays are still affected by drugs. 

Read more: PDEA: Nearly half of all barangays still affected by drugs

However, Representative Antonio Tinio, a lawmaker who disagreed with the house committee vote, said the elections should push through as scheduled.

Barangay officials involved in the drug trade should be prosecuted, and those found guilty be dismissed instead, said Tinio of the ACT-Teachers' party list.

Tinio and Gabriela Representative Arlene Brosas were the two who voted against the postponement.

The bill is expected to be taken up in the plenary session for a second reading.

CNN Philippines' Correspondent Joyce Ilas contributed to this report.