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Senate OKs barangay poll postponement, holdover for incumbent officials

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The Senate has approved a bill postponing the scheduled barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections from October 23 this year to May next year.

The final version of the upper chamber’s bill no longer carried the provision giving President Duterte the power to appoint officers-in-charge (OICs) and instead have the current barangay officials in a holdover position.

“Wala. Inalis na namin yun kaya wala ng kontrobersya. Proposal ni Minority Leader (Frank Drilon) leader ‘yun na alisin ‘yung appointment (power). Ako naman hindi ako ‘hot’ doon eh,” Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III, proponent of the bill in the upper chamber said shortly before plenary session started.

Opposition Sen. Risa Hontiveros was the lone dissent to the approval of Senate bill No. 1584 among 18 of the senators present during the voting on the bill.

Among those who voted were Senators Richard Gordon, Grace Poe, Juan Miguel Zubiri, Panfilo Lacson, Sonny Angara, Win Gatchalian, Nancy Binay, Gregorio Honasan, JV Ejercito Francis Escudero, Loren Legarda, Manny Pacquiao, Joel Villanueva, Vicente Sotto III, Franklin Drilon, Ralph Recto and Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III.

Besides the provision, Recto also introduced an amendment on the budget which will require the bill to undergo bicameral conference proceedings.

Instead of spending at least P7 billion, if elections were held this year, Recto said the amount of P6.09 billion appropriated in national budget last year and in 2015 to be treated as a continuing appropriations to fund the holding of the said poll exercise in May next year.

This cancels the need to augment the Commission on Elections’ (Comelec) budget next year as proposed in the 2018 General Appropriations Bill (GAB).