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Senate approves barangay and SK poll postponement bill

Like the House version, the measure the Senate approved late Wednesday, September 20, is minus the provision allowing President Rodrigo Duterte to appoint officers-in-charge, meaning incumbent officials will remain as holdovers until the next elections, which the Senate wants set for October 2018.

He has supported proposals to postpone the village polls, saying incumbent barangay officials with drug links will only win due to their influence and money.

Malacañang on Thursday welcomed the Senate's passage of a bill postponing the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections from October 2017 to May 2018.

Only the date of the reset barangay elections has to be agreed on by the House of Representatives and the Senate after the latter chamber approved on third and final reading postponing the village polls originally scheduled next month.

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Senator Risa Hontiveros was the lone senator who voted against the bill citing reasons such as her belief that she had confidence that Filipinos would use their right to vote to choose the leaders who will serve them best. Antonio Trillanes earlier said he would vote also "no" but left the Senate session before the third reading.

"We hope for the immediate enactment of the law and call on our citizens to support the measure as the Senate and the House of Representatives go for a bicameral conference to start working and harmonize their versions of the bill", presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said yesterday. "It then becomes an enrolled bill awaiting the signature of the President", Sotto said in a text message.

"Under Article 10, Section 4 of the Constitution, the President only has general supervision, not control, over LGUs (local government units)", he said, noting the amendment would make the proposed law compliant with the Constitution.

Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III, in response to his colleagues, said talked to President Duterte who assured him that he "is not interested with such power".



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