Comelec hopes for SC ruling on BSKE postponement early this year

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is hoping that the Supreme Court (SC) will release its ruling early this year on the petition to petition to declare unconstitutional Republic Act No. 11935 that mandated the postponement of the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE).

Comelec Chairman George Erwin Garcia talks during a press conference at their office in Intramuros, Manila on Tuesday, Jan 3, 2023. (Ali Vicoy)

In an interview on Tuesday, Jan. 10, Comelec Chairman George Erwin Garcia said that based on their monitoring, the Chief Justice stated they will first handle cases of national interest which includes the BSKE postponement.

In a petition filed by election lawyer Romulo B. Macalintal, the SC was told that the power to postpone elections is within the exclusive jurisdiction of Comelec.

Macalintal pointed out that while the Constitution gives Congress the power to determine or fix the term of office of barangay officials, “the Constitution does not give Congress the power to postpone the barangay elections nor to extend the term of office of the barangay officials.” On the postponement of elections, Macalintal cited Section 5 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 881, the Omnibus Election Code of the Philippines.

"Thus, by enacting a law postponing a scheduled barangay elections, Congress is in effect executing said provision of the OEC or has overstepped its constitutional boundaries and assumed a function that is reserved to Comelec," the petition read.

President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, Jr. signed into law Republic Act 11935, entitled "An Act Postponing the December 2022 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections, Amending For The Purpose Republic Act No. 9164, As Amended, Appropriating Funds Therefor, And For Other Purposes."

With this law, Garcia said that the legislative and the executive departments have seen fit to postpone the BSKE to October of 2023.