The Commission on Elections (Comelec) will continue to prepare for the May 14 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) despite moves to postpone it anew.
Comelec Spokesperson James Jimenez on Tuesday reiterated that a law must be passed for the May polls to be moved again, noting that the recent decision of the House of Representatives to postpone the BSKE is part of the process.
“The Comelec is taking this development in stride. As with previous postponements, the Comelec maintains that a law is needed to reschedule the #BSKE2018; the House Suffrage Committee vote, as significant as it undoubtedly is, is merely the first step in the legislative process,” Jimenez said.
At the same time, he said he is convinced that the May polls would push through based on several factors.
“The Comelec takes note of other factors in play: the imminent recess of Congress; the statements on record of various Senators, to the effect that they are either not in favor of postponement or are unsure of whether such a move remains doable in the time remaining before Congress goes on recess; and the statement of Secretary Harry Roque that the President himself is in favor of holding the #BSKE2018 as scheduled,” Jimenez said.
“In light of these considerations, the Comelec will continue with its preparations for the conduct of the May 14, 2018 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Comelec Employees Union (Comelec-EU) expressed concern over the series of election postponements since 2016.
“We, as election workers — duty-bound to uphold and protect the right to suffrage of every Filipino voter — cannot simply turn a blind eye to the chronic erosion of our democratic processes resulting from the frequent postponement of election of leaders in the most basic unit of our society, the Barangay,” the group said in a statement.
They noted that government resources are being wasted, as well as the efforts of poll body workers, if the elections are postponed again.
“We remind our esteemed legislators that the Comelec has already printed the official ballots, election paraphernalia, and all the accountable forms relative to the BSKE. The verified and certified list of Barangay and SK voters are already completed and posted outside all Comelec local offices nationwide. Should we again reduce these to mere scratch paper?” the Comelec-EU said.
“Comelec employees, most especially those in the frontlines, our Election Officers and Election Assistants, have prepared long and hard for these elections. We have dutifully fulfilled our mandate to carry on with our preparations even amidst the uncertainty of the BSKE,” it added.
On Monday, the House panel approved the proposal to move the May 14 elections to October 8. (Ferdinand Patinio, PNA)