Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Senate vows to block postponement of barangay, SK polls

The issue of crucial electoral reforms is vital to the interests of our countrymen as they continue to demand for fair, fast, and fraud-free elections. The implementation of the Automated Election Law authored by Senator Richard Gordon is the real answer to ending a future 'Hello Garci' and not the problem ridden re-opening of the wire-tap probe.

We were with Senator Richard Gordon and six hundred citizens as they rallied in front of the Comelec in Intramuros just before the official start of the campaign period for the 2007 elections to demand for the implementation of the Automated Election Law. We were with them when Comelec Commissioner Benjamin Abalos nearly broke down in tears, saying that he'd rather go to jail than implement the Automated Election Law. A newspaper columnist dismissed Gordon's call for the implementation of the amended Automated Elections Law, saying that the Senator would sooner or later get tired of it and move on. As things turn out, the columnist was wrong about Gordon and when the Senator commits himself to an issue, he doesn't let go of it until it is resolved -- especially so for an issue that will truly TRANSFORM the landscape of Philippine politics FOR REAL, FOR BETTER, FOR EVERYONE AND FOR GENERATIONS TO COME.

Senate vows to block postponement of barangay, SK polls

The Senate will block the proposal made by a committee from the House of Representatives to postpone the synchronized barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections slated on October 29, ABS-CBN News reported.

Sen. Richard Gordon, chairman of the Senate Committee on Electoral Reforms, said Tuesday that it is highly unlikely for senators to endorse the proposal to defer the barangay and SK polls to the second Monday of May in 2009.

The proposal was made by the House Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms headed by Makati Rep. Teodoro Locsin, Jr. Locsin said the proposal stemmed from the fact the country had just finished synchronized national and local polls in May this year.

Gordon said that incumbent barangay and SK officials had already enjoyed a three-year term extension because the polls have been postponed twice. The last village and youth polls were held in 2002. Elections were scheduled for 2005 but these were postponed.

The senator, however, said the Senate could allow the postponement should the Commission on Elections implement the computerization of the barangay polls as a preparation for the 2010 national elections. MalacaƱang echoed Gordon’s sentiments, saying that the present SK leaders are already beyond the age limit set by law.

Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno added that the barangay officials have already been given excessive hold-over capacities because the synchronized barangay and SK polls have been reset twice. Puno said the department sees no reason for the postponement since funds are already available for the elections. The House Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms earlier recommended to reset barangay and SK elections be held on the second Monday of May in 2009. The committee said the postponement of the elections stemmed from the fact that the country just came from the May midterm elections.

The committee hearing was attended by COMELEC representatives, the Department of the Interior and Local Government and the Department of Budget and Management.The postponement was also supported by the National Federation of Barangay Officials and the National Youth Commission.

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