House adopts Senate version on barangay polls; next election set for October 2018

September 25, 2017 - 9:01 PM
HOR plenary hall
The plenary hall of the House of Representatives. PHIL. STAR FILE PHOTO

MANILA – With a month to go before the scheduled polls, Congress has passed the bill postponing the barangay elections.

On late Monday, September 25, the House of Representatives harmonized its House Bill No. 6308 with Senate Bill No. 1584, adopting the date of the next elections to October 2018. The House earlier proposed a May 2018 schedule.

With both chambers agreeing on the same version, there will be no need for a bicameral conference committee meeting. The approved bill will be transmitted to Malacañang for the signature of President Rodrigo Duterte within the week, according to Majority Leader Rodolfo Farinas.

The barangay election was originally scheduled in October 23, 2017, but the President said he wanted it postponed because a number of barangay officials are suspected of being linked to the illegal drug trade. Duterte said he did not want the same officials get elected anew using drug money.

The new law would halt all preparations for the elections being done by the Commission on Elections (Comelec). The poll body earlier said it has printed around half of the required 59.5 million ballots.

Comelec chairperson Andres Bautista said the ballot could still be used next year by covering the old date with stickers or by using correction fluid. He said the poll body could also pass a resolution stating that it was allowing the use of the ballots with the 2017 date.