The joint election for the Sangguniang Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan will be moved either to May or October next year.
This even as the Commission on Election announced yesterday that the filing of certificates of candidacies will start on Saturday pending receipt of the order to postpone the polls next year.
Lawyer Ariel Selma, city Comelec registrar told the Chronicle last night that having not receive the order to moved the polls, the synchronized election is slated on Oct. 23, 2017. In fact he said the list of qualified voters will be finalized this week.
However, Rep. Rene Relampagos, Rep. Aris Aumentado and Rep. Art Yap, during seperate interviews with the Chronicle confirmed that the bicameral committee will convene this week to discuss the House and Senate versions of the approved bill to postpone the elections next year.
Senator Koko Pimentel and Rep. Sherwin Tugna, chairmen of the committee on suffrage of both Senate and Congress, respectively will lead the bicameral committee which is slated to convene anytime this week.
The House version approved that barangay and SK polls will be held on the second Monday of May 2018 while the Senate version moved the polls to the second week of October 2018.
The solons said the bicameral committee composed of about five each from Congress and Senate will deliberate on the dates as well as the different moves as to the tenure of the incumbent barangay officials.
Congress version mandates the current barangay officials to a holdover capacity until the elections can be called while the Senate version calls for the appointment of Officer-in-Charge (OIC) in the respective barangays.
The Senate version supports the earlier pronouncement made by Pres. Roderigo Duterte calling for the appointment of OICs in the barangays. In fact, a raging controversy in the province erupted when persons claiming to be deployed by the Duterte administration were soliciting names in the barangays for those wanting to be appointed OICs
The said operation of unscrupulous persons was immediately denied as having been deployed by the leaders identified with Pres. Duterte.
Rep. Relampagos said he expects the Senate version to get approved. However, he forecast a debate to ensue once the discussion will tackle on whether the incumbent barangays leaders be in a holdover capacity or the appointment of OICs will be implemented.
For his part, Rep. Aumentado said he expects the bicameral committee to approve the postponement after which will be ratified by both houses.
Rep. Yap sounded quite apprehensive on the outcome of the discussion by the bicam body.
In a text message to the Chronicle, Yap stated “Will they make it? We have to see.”
The move to postpone the barangay elections started to snowball when Pres. Duterte theorized that the drug problem down in the barangay level can never be solved without changing the incumbent barangay officials.
The statement of the President was met with mounting criticisms as one public pulse commented only a few of the incumbent barangay leaders are presumed involved in drugs.