House panel ‘kills’ bill postponing SK, barangay polls
This was after members of the House committee on suffrage and electoral reforms on Wednesday voted against deliberating the proposed measure seeking to postpone the barangay and SK elections.
During the hearing, 22 members of the committee voted for the motion of Valenzuela Rep. Magtanggol Gunigundo to “lay down all the bills on the table," which means all proceedings on the bill will be suspended indefinitely. Fifteen voted against it.
The hearing was held a day after Congress leaders met with President Benigno Aquino III, who is against the deferment of the elections.
The committee, headed by Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga, was supposed to discuss the consolidated bill as agreed upon during the hearing last Monday. The agreement was set aside because of Gunigundo’s motion.
House Minority Leader and Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman expressed disappointment over the decision.
“No other bill of the same nature has reached this stage. Apparently the leadership of the committee is prepared to kill this bill just because of the position of the President," he said.
“Treason has been committed against the House and this committee because we resisted from performing our function just because the President does not want the postponement of the barangay and SK polls," he added.
Barzaga confirmed that leaders of the House of Representatives and Senate discussed the issue with President Aquino and Malacañang officials Tuesday.
“We have that meeting yesterday [because] it would not give a good impression on the part of our people at this very early stage that the legislature, the House and Senate and the President are divisive in so far as the issue is concern," he told reporters after the hearing.
House Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II said it was the House leadership that requested for the meeting.
Barzaga defended the committee decision, saying they did not kill the bill but just manifested the will of the committee members. He said the decision to shelve the bills was agreed by the House, Senate and President Aquino.
The committee last week decided to consolidate at least 21 bills filed on the postponement of barangay and SK elections. Barzaga was then optimistic that they would be able to approve the bill by the first week of September as requested by the Commission on Elections (Comelec). - KBK, GMANews.TV