Malacañang on Monday said the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections will push through in May, knocking Senator Franklin Drilon's claim that Palace allies in the House of Representatives are pushing for another postponement to give way to a charter change plebiscite in October.
Calling Drilon's claim "strange" and "speculative," presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III declared in a forum last Friday that there was no support in the Senate for another postponement.
"So this will belie already the statement of Senator Drilon. I’m just surprised that it’s coming from a minority senator. Normally it’s a minority senator that will insist that elections will push through, but it was actually Senate President himself who informed the audience to prepare for barangay elections in May," Roque said in a press briefing.
The barangay and SK elections were originally scheduled in October 2016, but were postponed to October 2017. Congress then moved it to May this year.
Surigao del Sur Representative Johnny Pimentel has filed a bill to move the barangay and SK polls to October 2018, while Oriental Mindoro Representative Reynaldo Umali said that these can be held simultaneously with the May 2019 midterm elections.
On Sunday, Drilon said the supermajority in the House is hatching plans to get rid of the elections and allow for an extension of their term of office through charter change.
Drilon said the supermajority would "railroad" Charter change and submit it to the plebiscite together with the barangay and SK elections in October or November.
Roque denied this, and said that there will be "a lot of discussions" on the matter in the future.
"It is not the President’s purpose to railroad it knowing how important it is, revising that no less than the fundamental law of the land, and the people will be given ample time and opportunity to debate and ponder on the proposed revisions, whatever they may be," he said.
Duterte has repeatedly vowed to step down early if the transition to a federal government is done by 2020. — BM, GMA News