By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III joined his colleagues in believing that the proposal to defer for the third time the conduct of the barangay and sangguniang kabataan (SK) polls would pass Congress.
Pimentel on Saturday told reporters that he is not even inclined to file a counterpart measure on the resolutions filed by members of the House of Representatives since he does not see a compelling reason to the postpone anew the barangay elections.
The local election, which was deferred twice due to President Duterte’s appeal, is scheduled in May this year.
“Dapat may mabigat na dahilan to postpone the elections…Wala nga akong maisip. Kaya hindi ako nagfile ng postponement. Kung may naisip ako, papa-postpone ko rin pero wala eh (There should be a compelling reason to postpone the elections…But I cannot think of anything. That is why I did not file for a postponement. If there’s any, I would move for the postponement. But there is none),” Pimentel said in an interview before today’s session.
“Handa na ang lahat. Handa na ang Comelec (Commission on Elections), handa yung mga nakaupo, mga botante.”
Pimentel, whose political party Partido Demokratiko ng Pilipinas-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) has been pushing for the Charter to pave way for federalism, said however the planned plebescite cannot be used to suspend the May polls.
“Separate naman ang plebesito for the new Constitution. You can even schedule that as a stand-alone electoral exercise,” he said.
He added that such “heavy” proposal may not succeed especially with only two weeks left before Congress goes on legislative break on March 23, and senators already expressing their disapproval on the move.
“Yung last postponement, nahirapan na kami ilusot,” he explained.
Representatives. Reynaldo Umali (Oriental Mindoro) , Johnny Pimentel (Surigao del Sur) and Jose Panganiban Jr. (ANAC-IP partylist) have filed their respective resolutions seeking to postpone the barangay elections this year.
Umali, in an earlier interview, said the postponement would give way for the planned Charter change, the shift to federal form of government and the Bangsamoro Basic Law — measures that were deemed priority under the Duterte adminstration.