Senate approves bill postponing barangay, SK elections to May 2018

MANILA — The Senate on Wednesday passed on third and final reading a bill postponing barangay (village) and Sangguniang Kabataan (youth) elections to May 2018 instead of holding it next month.

With 17 affirmative votes, one negative vote and zero abstention, Senate Bill No. 1584, authored by Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III and Senator Richard Gordon was approved.

Cited by Sotto and Gordon as a reason for postponing the elections are recent events, including the armed conflict in Marawi City, the proclamation of Martial Law in Mindanao, and the prevalence of illegal drugs.”

Senator Risa Hontiveros was the lone senator who voted against the bill citing reasons such as her belief that she had confidence that Filipinos would use their right to vote to choose the leaders who will serve them best.

Hontiveros said postponing polls for second time held hostage the exercise of the democratic rights of citizens and youth to choose their barangay and youth leaders.

She added that her no vote was because she had faith in the capacity of the Armed Forces of the Philippines to contain any attempt by armed groups to disrupt the holding of peaceful and orderly elections.

Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto, who was among the senators who voted for the postponement, meanwhile, said that this second postponement should be the “final” one.

“It should be a non-extendable deferment. If we scrap again the elections in May, it will constitute a strike three against democracy,” Recto said.

On September 11, the House of Representatives approved the postponement of village and youth polls to May 2018. At least 213 lawmakers voted to approve the measure, while 10 lawmakers voted against it.

Both versions of the bill will be tackled in the bicameral conference for consolidation.