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Comelec suspends barangay, SK polls in Marawi

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Wednesday announced the suspension of the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections scheduled this year in war-torn Marawi City.

Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said that the Commission en banc has "resolved to suspend the conduct of the BSKE2018 (Barangay and SK Elections 2018) only in Marawi City, owing to the prevailing conditions in that city."

He said the en banc will "reassess" the suspension after three months to "determine whether to go ahead with the elections at that time."

The announcement came after the Comelec's three public consultations in Zamboanga City, Cotabato City and Cagayan de Oro City earlier this month on the postponement of the Barangay and SK elections.

The Comelec said that under Section 5, Article 1 of the Omnibuds Election Code, it "may motu propio postpone elections in a particular location, after due notice and hearing therein, when the holding of free, orderly and honest elections should become impossible due to any serious cause such as violence, terrorism, loss or destruction of election paraphernalia or records, force majeure, and other analogous causes of such nature."

The nationwide Barangay and SK elections was supposed to be  held on Oct. 23, 2017, but Duterte, through Republic Act No. 10952, moved the elections to May 14, 2018.

The Comelec said the public hearings were conducted in light of the extension of martial law in Mindanao until Dec. 31, 2018.

President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao after the Maute group's attack in Marawi City in May 2017.

Rehabilitation efforts are ongoing in Marawi after Duterte declared the city liberated from the Maute group. —Marlly Rome Bondoc/ALG, GMA News