After being certified as urgent by President Rodrigo Duterte, the Senate on Wednesday approved on third and final reading the postponement of the barangay and sangguniang kabataan (SK) elections to May 2018.
Voting 17-1 and zero abstention, the Senate approved Senate Bill No. 1584 less than three hours after it approved the measure on second reading.
The bill was approved without the provision that would allow Duterte to appoint barangay officials, which was proposed as part of the government's effort to weed out villages of barangay officials involved in illegal drugs.
"Mr. President, pursuant to the provisions of Article VI, Section 26, Paragraph 2 of the 1987 Constitution, I hereby certify to the necessity of the immediate enactment of Senate Bill No. 1584, entitled an 'Act Postponing the October 2017 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections,'" Duterte said in a letter addressed to Senate President Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III.
Among the 18 senators present during the voting, only Sen. Risa Hontiveros voted against the measure.
"I vote no to the postponement of elections based on the flimsiest of reasons unsubstantiated by evidence and motivated only by the President's desire and intent to have full control over the barangays," Hontiveros said in the explanation of her vote.
"I vote no to holding hostage the legitimate exercise of the democratic right of our citizens and our youth to choose the barangay and youth leaders. I vote no to stretching too far the mandate of our incumbent barangay officials to the point of compromising their legitimacy and authority to govern," she added.
The senators who voted in favor of the bill were Senate President Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, senators Sonny Angara, Benigno "Bam" Aquino IV, Nancy Binay, Francis "Chiz" Escudero, Sherwin Gatchalian, Richard Gordon, Panfilo "Ping" Lacson, Loren Legarda, Manny Pacquiao, Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan, Grace Poe, Ralph Recto, Vicente Sotto III, Joel Villanueva, Juan Miguel Zubiri.
This was the second time the Senate approved the postponement of the barangay and SK elections under the Duterte administration. [JHOANNA BALLARAN, inquirer.net]