MANILA, Aug 29 (Mabuhay) – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has temporarily suspended the printing of ballots for the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections.
According to Comelec chief Andres Bautista, this is in line with a seeming agreement to push the elections back anew between President Rodrigo Duterte and Congress.
“As you know, it seem that it’s already a consensus between the President and Congress to postpone the barangay and SK elections. We deemed it prudent to first suspend the ballot printing,” Bautista said.
The poll chief said they “are hopeful that Congress will pass a law quickly regarding the postponement.”
Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said printing will resume by September 1 if there is no confirmation of postponement.
The poll body has to print a total of 85 million ballots—57 million for barangay elections, and the remaining 28 million for SK.
Printing began on August 21, with a deadline slated on October 21.
So far, at least 411,000 ballots have been printed for Agusan del Norte and Agusan del Sur.
The postponement of the said elections is deemed the “most prevailing sentiment” among lawmakers.
Duterte—who earlier said barangay and SK polls must push through this year—said Friday that he is now in favor of the postponement because of the possibility of “drug money” being used to fund campaigns.
Bautista said they have “slowed down” other parts of the preparations for the October polls because of this.
“Hinay hinay muna,” he said. “’Yung mga contracts, notices to proceed, mga bidding namin, we have to reevaluate given these developments.”
The poll chief, however, noted their call that the said elections be re-scheduled to 2017 if the postponement pushes through.
This is to give the Comelec enough time to prepare for the 2019 midterm elections. (MNS)