MANILA — Sen. Francis Escudero on Thursday said he has no objection to the proposed postponement of barangay (village) elections scheduled this October.
“I have no strong objections but I want to see the final details of the proposal,” Escudero said in a Kapihan press conference in the Senate.
Pres. Rodrigo Duterte earlier said that he wanted to postpone the scheduled elections and replace all barangay officials with appointees as many of them were involved in the illegal drug trade.
Escudero, however, said that he had many questions about the proposal.
“How long will it be postponed? Who do the appointing? I have many questions before I support or oppose. But the postponement itself I have no objections,” he said.
“Hindi ‘yan nakaukit sa bato (It’s not set in stone),” he stressed, referring to barangay officials’ term.
He, meanwhile, urged the Department of Justice (DOJ) to step up in filing cases against barangay officials linked to the illegal drug trade.
“If 40 percent of barangay officials are involved in illegal drugs, then file cases against at least one percent. Preventively suspend them so they can’t serve,” Escudero said.
Several senators have opposed the proposal to postpone barangay elections anew since it has already been postponed last year to give way to amendments to the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) law.
Sen. Francis Pangilinan, among those against the postponement, said that it is no longer reasonable as it is too close to the mid-term elections.
He also said that appointing village officials would weaken constitutional democracy since people should be given the chance to elect their leaders.