By Ben Rosario
Another bill seeking the postponement of the 2020 barangay elections and granting a 17-month term extension for incumbent barangay officials has been filed in the House of Representatives.
House Bill No. 905, authored by Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel, will be the second legislative proposal, calling for the cancellation of the May 11, 2020 elections to be filed in the Lower House.
Similar measures have been filed in the Senate and authored by newly-elected Senators Imee Marcos and Christopher “Bong” Go.
In HB 905, Pimentel proposed the holding of the barangay elections ion October 11, 2021, six months prior to the holding of the presidential elections in 2022.
Pimentel said the postponement will give the Commission on Elections (Comelec) more time to prepare for the election exercise.
“We simply want to give the Comelec greater leeway to prepare for the next barangay and SK elections, considering that we just concluded the May 13 mid-term national and local polls. Plus, we get to defer P3 billion in spending,” Pimentel said.
“In particular, we want the Comelec to see to it that young Filipinos who come of age have ample time to register as voters for the first time, so that they can actually participate in the balloting,” Pimentel, a former provincial governor, said.
Under Pimentel’s bill, all of the country’s 670,000 sitting barangay and SK officials whose terms are due to end on June 30, 2020, will remain in office until their successors are elected, unless sooner removed or suspended for cause.
The country has 42,044 barangays, each with the following elected officials: one chairperson and seven councilors, plus one SK chairperson and seven SK councilors.
The most recent barangay and SK elections were held last year. Originally set for October 31, 2016, the elections were first moved to October 23, 2017, and then eventually to May 14, 2018.
Isabela Rep. Faustino Dy V earlier filed a bill seeking to postpone the forthcoming barangay and SK polls by three years – to May 2023.
Dy cited a different reason for his initiative. He actually wants to extend to five years the terms of all barangay and SK officials elected in 2018, so that they would have more time to fulfill long-term programs and projects in their communities.
The 2017 law that enabled the barangay and SK polls in May 2018 also scheduled the subsequent elections for May 2020, thus cutting the terms of the winners to two years, instead of three years as prescribed by a preceding statute.