House OKs barangay, SK elections postponement on final reading

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 19) — Voting 164-27, the House of Representatives passed Monday on the bill postponing anew the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections on third and final reading.

From the original schedule of May 14 this year, the bill reschedules the local polls to the October 8, or the second Monday of the month.

Bill sponsor Sherwin Tugna, who also chairs the House Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms, said the lawmakers want the elections postponed to give the Commission on Elections (Comelec) more time to prepare for the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections.

He added they also want the elections postponed so it can be held simultaneously with the anticipated plebiscite on charter change.

ACT Teachers Party-list Representative Antonio Tinio, however, pointed out that the Comelec itself said that it is ready to hold the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections this May.

Tinio added, the Comelec said during a hearing that they will have difficulty holding the elections in October because it will be held almost simultaneous with the filing of Certificates of Candidacy for the 2019 elections, and simultaneous with the preparations of the local and national elections.

Tinio also noted that there is still no assurance that a plebiscite on charter change will be conducted in October, hence, the election postponement has no basis.

Senate President Koko Pimentel, meanwhile, said the bill on the election postponement has no chance of passing in the Upper House.

The Congress will adjourn on March 24, with both the House and Senate set to resume their sessions on May 14, the supposed date of the local elections.

If the Senate fails to pass the bill, the barangay and SK elections will proceed as scheduled.

Around 42,000 barangays nationwide will vote in the upcoming polls. The barangay elections were last held in October 2013.

CNN Philippines' Correspondent Joyce Ilas contributed to this report.