Gomez abides by law resetting bgy, SK polls

October 20, 2022 Jester P. Manalastas 364 views

ORMOC City — Leyte Representative Richard Gomez, one of the proponents of Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE), said he will respect and follow whatever the decision of the Supreme Court in the matter.

In an interview, Gomez said those who are against the postponement have the right to either question it or raise an issue before the High Tribunal.

However, Gomez said Congress is ready to defend its decision to approve the measure seeking to reschedule the elections from December 5, 2022 to October 30, 2023.

It was already a law after President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. signed it.

“We will abide by whatever the SC will say. What we can assure the Comelec is that there are funds available. And yung P8 billion na funds naman for this year can be used by the administration for other programs, lalo na sa pandemic response,” Gomez said.

Meanwhile, Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez defended the constitutionality of Republic Act No. 11935, the law postponing the BSKE.

“The law is constitutional and is a valid and legal legislative act of the Congress,” he said in a statement.

Rodriguez, who voted for the postponement bill, said there is no specific or categorical provision in the Constitution that prohibits the deferment of the barangay and SK elections.

“The term limit of elected local government officials provided in Section 8, Article 10 of the Constitution expressly excludes that of the barangay officials, which accordingly shall be determined by law,” he said.

This clearly gives Congress the jurisdiction or authority to pass and enact laws governing the term and elections of barangay and SK officials, he said.

He added that the enabling law that provided the term and elections of barangay and SK officers is RA No. 7160 or the Local Government Code of 1991.

“RA No. 7160, being a product of the powers and functions of the legislative branch of the government, can therefore be amended or revoked by the Congress,” he stressed.

Rodriguez issued the statement ahead of tomorrow’s (Friday’s) oral arguments hearing set by the Supreme Court on the petition of lawyer Romulo Macalintal questioning the constitutionality of RA 11935 or the barangay and SK elections postponement law.

The Mindanao lawmaker refuted Macalintal’s assertion that the authority to postpone an election is vested with the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

He said it is “not completely correct to say that only the Comelec has the authority or power to cancel or postpone the barangay and SK elections because there is nothing in the Omnibus Election Code that exclusively supports such a concept.”