By Mortz C. Ortigoza
LINGAYEN - A congressman exhorted village officials who want to run for the barangay election this coming October to prepare since there are no debates on bills that will empower President Rodrigo Duterte to postphone the poll.
“As of now wala akong personal knowledge. Kung meron man dapat it has to be done and should be prioritized kasi malapit na ang October ang election,” Pangasinan Second District Representative Leopoldo Bataoil cited.
Barangay election in the Philippines, according to law, provides that each village includes a chief called Punong Barangay, the seven members of the Council called each as Kagawad, and the Sangguniang Kabataan Chairman who are candidates submit themselves for a fifteen days campaign period.
In March this year, Surigao del Norte 2nd District Representative Robert Ace Barbers filed the first bill that would postpone the village polls originally set for October 23, 2017.
In House Bill (HB) Number 5359 filed last March 22, Barbers proposed moving this year's barangay election to May 25, 2020.
“So to those who are aspiring for being a Captain they should make their presence felt make appointment preparation which are not in violation of the Omnibus Code,” Bataoil, a former police general, stressed.
The solon in an April this year interview with this paper said that he and fellow congressmen would pass a bill that empowers President Duterte to extend the election in October 23 this year to another year.
The postphonement of the poll, he explained, was not only the concern of his Committee on Public Order & Safety but also the Committees on Local Government, Justice, Suffrage, and Appropriations in the House of Representatives.
In October last year, President Duterte signed a law that moved the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections from October 31, 2016 to October 23, 2017.
The Department of Interior & Local Government said that President Duterte did not only want the barangay elections extended from October 23 this year but he also wanted to end the term of all barangay officials and replace them with his appointees.
The reason of the President postponing the polls and handpicking village officials was to avoid narcotics monies to influence the election.