Politics

Senate OK’s bill deferring village elections 

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PHILIPPINE STAR/ MIGUEL DE GUZMAN

THE SENATE on Wednesday approved on second reading a bill that seeks to postpone village and youth council elections to next year.   

Senate Minority Floor Leader Aquilino Martin D. Pimentel III and Deputy Minority Floor Leader Senator Ana Theresia N. Hontiveros voted against the measure, saying the postponement would also delay a democratic process.  

“Elections are essential in strengthening our democracy, especially at the grassroots,” Ms. Hontiveros said in plenary.  

“By holding elections, our young leaders asserted, which I also agreed with in principle, we guarantee the right to vote, create opportunities to hold barangay leaders accountable, and incentivize leaders’ performance for good barangay governance,” she added.  

Ms. Hontiveros proposed to move the date of the elections to May 2023 instead of December, which was rejected. 

The House of Representatives on Tuesday approved a counterpart bill on its third and final reading. 

Under the bill, future elections will be held every three years starting December 2026. 

The elections for youth leaders and village officials were set for May last year but were postponed amid a coronavirus pandemic.  

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has already spent more than a billion pesos on preparations for the elections, Comelec Chairman George Erwin M. Garcia earlier said. 

Mr. Garcia said all equipment and materials bought for the village and youth council elections could still be used if lawmakers decide to postpone these. — John Victor D. Ordoñez