Run after ‘narco-barangay officials’, Namfrel urges gov’t

MANILA — An election watchdog urged the government to use the postponement of the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) polls to hold accountable barangay officials allegedly engaged in illegal drug operations.

“File charges but these barangay officials can still maintain their posts until the final judgement of their case. I hope they have filed or will be doing it soon since it has been seven months since they announced that 40 percent of barangay officials are involved in the drug trade and/or benefitting from it,” said National Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL) secretary general Eric Alvia.

President Rodrigo Duterte pushed for the postponement of the village and youth polls saying majority of barangay officials were allegedly involved in the illegal drug trade.

Alvia lauded the decision not to appoint barangay officials and let incumbent ones stay on a holdover capacity, as provided in the recently-signed law postponing the village and youth polls to May 2018.

“The dropping of the appointment provision is a victory for us voters,” he added.

On Wednesday, Malacanang announced that the President signed on October 2 Republic Act 10952 which postpones the polls to May 2018.

NAMFREL has repeatedly opposed the postponement of the barangay and SK polls, reiterating that electoral exercises must be held on a regular basis.