Ni NOEL ABUEL
Pasado na ikatlo at huling pagbasa ng Senado ang panukalang pagpapaliban sa Barangay at SK elections hanggang sa susunod na taon.
Sa botong 17 pabor at dalawang tutol, nagtagumpay ang Senado na ipasa ang House Bill 1306 o ang “An Act Postponing the December elections, amending for the purpose Republic Act No. 9164, as Amended by Republic Act No. 9340, Republic Act No. 10632, Republic Act No. 10656 Republic Act No. 10923, Republic Act No. 10952, and Republic Act No. 11462 and for other Purposes.”
Sa plenaryo, nagpahayag ng pagtutol si Senate Minority Leader Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel habang si Senador Risa Hontiveros ay idadaan sa sulat ang pagtutol nito sa pagpapaliban sa Bgy. at SK elections.
Ang SB 1306 ay ipinanukala ni Senador Imee Marcos kung saan mananatili hanggang sa 2022 ang mga halal na Barangay at Sangguniang Kabataan chairmen.
“The fact that the barangay and sangguniang kabataan elections have been postponed relentlessly through decades merely underlies the unfinished business of deeper issues plaguing both the barangay and sangguniang kabataan systems,” sa sponsorship speech ni Marcos.
Sinabi ni Marcos, chairperson ng Senate committee on Electoral Reforms and People’s Participation, na ipapadala ang enrolled copy ng ratified version sa Palasyo para lagdaan ito ni Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte bago maging ganap na batas.
“Thus, this proposed election postponement is a means to buy us time for a series of measures that the Committee on Electoral Reforms and People’s Participation is proposing to Congress. This is merely a preliminary measure to give us time to study and debate the deeper issues confronting the barangay and SK systems under our present law,” sabi nito.
Itinakda ang BSK elections sa December 2023 at isasagawa ito sa unang Lunes ng Disyembre kada tatlong taon.
Nakapaloob sa Section 3 ng nasabing panukala, ang probisyon ng “hold over” ay hanggang sa maihalal at kuwalipikado ang lahat ng incumbent barangay at sangguniang kabataan officials ay mananatili sa posisyon hangga’t hindi na sususpende.
“The amount necessary for the implementation of this Act shall be taken from the appropriations of the Commission on Elections under the General Appropriations Act and/or supplementary appropriations thereafter: Provided, that the additional budget for the barangay and sangguniang kabataan elections to be held on the second Monday of December 2023 shall not exceed 15 percent of the budget allocation for the postponed December 5, 2022 barangay and sangguniang kabataan elections,” nakasaad pa sa panukala.
Ang Commission on Audit (COA) ay inaatasang magsumite sa Kongreso ng audit report sa pondo na ipinagpaliban sa Disyembre 5, 2022 barangay at sangguniang kabataan elections sa loob ng 90-araw mula sa pagiging epektibo ng panukala.
“A word of caution too, regarding the budget COMELEC has requested for the postponement. Out of the P8.441 billion allotted for the December 2022 Barangay and sangguniang kabataan elections, there should be a balance by month’s end of roughly P7.583 billion. COMELEC claims, however, that they have somehow obligated or disbursed far more. And then they are requesting that should the elections be postponed to December 2023, the amount of PI8.441 billion should be provided in the 2023 budget. That is over 218 percent more than their budget this year. An amount which I think is unmerited,”paliwanag ni Marcos.