Senator Bam Aquino on Monday slammed efforts to allow President Rodrigo Duterte to appoint barangay officer-in-charge once the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections are postponed, saying the people and the youth should elect their barangay leaders.
“We stand firmly against appointing barangay officials. These leaders should represent the people, serve the people and not to be indebted to Malacanang,” Aquino, a former student-leader and former chairman of the National Youth Commission, said.
Earlier, Duterte expressed support to the postponement of the barangay elections and said he is inclined to appoint barangay leaders to prevent the victory of candidates financed by drug lords instead of calling for another election this year.
“We are looking for a way to appoint na lang the barangay captains [We are looking for a way to just appoint barangay leaders], but the mechanism of how to go about it, select them. I can, but you know it’s always the President who has the power to appoint,” Duterte said.
Aquino, however, said that the government should uphold and respect the right of the Filipino people to vote and elect their barangay leaders through the ballot as a foundation of democracy.
“Even if we hold over the current officials before the next elections, at least they have the mandate from the people,” Aquino added.
The solon expressed keenness to push for the barangay and SK polls this October, saying it is long overdue, especially the implementation of Republic Act 10742 or the SK Reform Act.
“The last SK election was seven years ago. Since then, we’ve reformed the SK and even included an anti-political dynasty provision. I would personally want to see the SK elections push through to empower our youth leaders,” Aquino said.