MANILA, Philippines — Only the date of the reset barangay elections has to be agreed on by the House of Representatives and the Senate after the latter chamber approved on third and final reading postponing the village polls originally scheduled next month.
Like the House version, the measure the Senate approved late Wednesday, September 20, is minus the provision allowing President Rodrigo Duterte to appoint officers-in-charge, meaning incumbent officials will remain as holdovers until the next elections, which the Senate wants set for October 2018.
Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas, who attended a meeting of the Legislative Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC) late Wednesday, said Duterte, agreed with letting incumbent officials remain in their posts.
“The President informed us that he agrees with our position that the incumbent barangay officials will hold over as such because he is not really keen in appointing people into elective positions,” Fariñas said.
Duterte, who claims most village officials are involved in the drug trade, sought the postponement of the village polls this year to prevent the influence of drug money, and said he wanted to choose officers-in-charge to replace the incumbents.
Fariñas said the House will decide on Monday whether or not to adopt the date proposed by the Senate, noting that “the Senate has substantially adopted the version of the House except for some minor changes.”
“If the House adopts the Senate version, no bicameral conference committee will be needed and we will submit on Tuesday the enrolled bill for approval of the President,” he explained.
The Commission on Elections will continue preparing for elections this October until the law is enacted.
Election commissioner Rowena Guanzon said at least half the number of ballots needed for the village polls — 25,141,728 of 59 million needed — have been printed.
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