MANILA, Philippines — President Ferdinand R. Marcos defended his decision to sign legislation postponing the barangay (village) and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections originally scheduled for December 2022 on Thursday.
This comes after election lawyer Romulo Macalintal petitioned the Supreme Court (SC) to overturn Republic Act (RA) 11935, which postpones village and youth council elections until October 2023.
Marcos stated that there is “sufficient precedence” for the delay of the December 5 elections for new bargangay and SK officials, citing statutes passed by the previous administration to postpone the elections.
“We do, however, have precedent for postponing barangay and SK elections. You are not alone (It has been done numerous times). During my time in office, I believe there have been four or five postponements “In a chance interview at the Manila Hotel, he stated.
The elections for the village and youth council have been postponed four times since 2016.
Former President Rodrigo Duterte, Marcos’ predecessor, signed the three additional bills postponing the elections.
Macalintal said in his appeal on Monday that Congress has no ability to postpone village elections because the power “exclusively belongs to the Comelec (Commission on Elections).”
Macalintal also questioned RA 11935’s validity, claiming that the 1987 Constitution does not grant Congress “the jurisdiction to postpone barangay elections or to extend the term of office of barangay authorities.”
Marcos, on the other hand, believed Congress had the authority to do so.
“So, in terms of the legislation, I believe Congress is fully within its authority to postpone those elections because that is not included in the Constitution, but it is contained in the Local Government Code,” he said.
The village and youth council elections will now be held on the final Monday of October 2023, according to RA 11935, which Marcos signed on October 10.
According to RA 11935, all incumbent village and SK authorities must continue in office unless dismissed or suspended by the law.
According to the law, the term of office for village and SK officials will begin at noon on Nov. 30 following their election.