Albay Rep. Lagman votes against postponement of barangay, SK polls
Opposition lawmaker Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman voted against the bill seeking to postpone the barangay and SK elections.
Under the House Bill 4673, the BSKE scheduled on December 5, 2022 will be moved to the first Monday of December 2023.
“The reason invariably invoked by the authors of the postponement that the savings of P7 to 8-B, if the elections are postponed, can be realigned to finance the pandemic response and the stimulus package for economic recovery is not legally feasible and is utterly unconstitutional because the COMELEC enjoys fiscal autonomy, which does not allow any appropriations released to the COMELEC to be countermanded by the Executive and utilized for other purposes,” said Lagman.
“The remaining unused funds will constitute a continuing appropriation under the sole jurisdiction of the COMELEC,” he explained.
The Bicolano legislator also noted that the COMELEC is not suffering from “electoral fatigue,” stressing that the poll body repeatedly stressed that it is ready to conduct the December 2022 village and youth elections.
“No less than COMELEC Chairman George Garcia relayed to legislators that a postponement of the barangay elections to December 2023 will be a costly exercise because additional funds would be needed to the tune of P18.358-B constituting the P7.5-B savings as continuing appropriation and an additional budget of P10.858-B,” he said.
“Elections are the bedrock of democratic governments. Democracy at the grassroots must be assured by holding regular elections for barangay and SK officials and should not be imperiled by repeated postponements of grassroots elections,” the veteran lawmaker said.
He also pointed out that the “over-staying” village officials need a fresh mandate and those “ineffective must be changed.”
“The over-aged youth officials who have long exceeded the age limit must give way to young blood,” he said.