MANILA—Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II on Monday said he supports President Rodrigo Duterte’s plan to postpone anew the barangay (village) elections in October and instead appoint barangay officials to stamp out narcopolitics in the country.
”I’m in favor for the reasons given by President Rodrigo Duterte. It could help cleanse the ranks of barangay officials,” Aguirre said in a text message sent to reporters covering the Department of Justice (DOJ).
The Duterte administration is seeking to postpone barangay polls, claiming that 40 percent of officials in the country’s 42,028 barangays are either corrupt or into illegal drugs.
Instead of holding elections, the Duterte administration intends to appoint around 340,000 barangay chairs and council members.
While he said that there is nothing unconstitutional regarding the measure, Aguirre noted that a law must be passed to cancel the polls and appoint barangay OICs (officers-in-charge).
President Duterte had admitted that his plan to appoint barangay officials to fill the vacant posts would be “quite messy” because incumbent barangay officials would likely oppose the move.
According to the President, the first requirement for a barangay officer-in-charge nominee is that they should not have any connections at all with rebels. Second, is that they are not into drugs, and lastly, they are not really leaders of politicians.
The President said he would accept nominations from the Catholic Church, from Muslim leaders, religious denominations and other organizations.