Senate bill proposes to authorize Duterte to appoint barangay officials » Manila Bulletin News

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By Vanne Elaine Terrazola 

A Senate bill recommended to postpone the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataang (SK) elections this year to October 2018, and authorize President Duterte to appoint barangay officials based on his drug list.

Senate of the Philippines / Manila Bulletin

Senate Bill 1584 is proposing to defer the barangay elections on October 23 this year to October 22, 2018 and allow incumbent officials in a holdover capacity until then, unless the President appoints officials to replace them.

“Until their successor shall have been duly elected and qualified, or until the President, through the Executive Secretary, shall appoint officers-in-charge for the barangay, all incumbent barangay officials shall remain in office, unless sooner removed or suspended,” the measure read.

The proposed law was authored by Senators Vicente Sotto III and Richard Gordon following a joint report filed Monday by the committees on electoral reforms and people’s participation and on finance.

The report was signed by Sen. Loren Legarda, chair of the finance panel, and Gordon, vice chair of the electoral reforms and people’s participation, who assumed the role for detained Senator Leila de Lima.

The joint committee report found Duterte’s narco-list “sufficient” for his appointment of interim officials.

“In addition to the other causes under existing laws, inclusion of the name of an incumbent official in the duly confirmed and validated Drug List provided to and in possession of the President shall constitute sufficient cause for the appointment of officers-in-charge for the barangay,” it said.

Aside from Senators Sherwin Gatchalian, Emmanuel Pacquiao, and Gregorio Honasan II who have yet to affix their signatures in the report, members of the minority bloc – Senators De Lima, Paolo “Bam” Aquino IV, Riza Hontiveros, Antonio Trillanes IV, and Minority Floor Leader Franklin Drilon – did not sign.

“We stand firmly against appointing barangay officials. These leaders should represent the people, serve the people and not to be indebted to Malacañang…Even if we hold over the current officials before the next elections, at least they have the mandate from the people,” said Aquino in a statement.

Aquino pushed the resumption of the barangay and SK polls this year, saying “it is long overdue, most especially the implementation of Republic Act 10742 or the SK Reform Act.”

“The last SK election was seven years ago. Since then, we’ve reformed the SK and even included an anti-political dynasty provision. I would personally want to see the SK elections push through to empower our youth leaders,” he said.

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