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SC urged anew to direct Comelec to begin prep for bgy polls

December 6, 2022 Hector Lawas 248 views

THE Supreme Court (SC) has been asked anew to issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) directing the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to resume its preparation for the 2023 Barangay Elections.

This is as election lawyer Romulo Macalintal cited in his motion the poll body’s manifestation that it could still hold the elections in May 2023 if the high court declared the Republic Act (RA) No. 11935 “unconstitutional.”

RA 11935 has postponed the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections from December 5, 2022 to the last Monday of October 2023.

“I have filed… before the Supreme Court, my second motion to issue TRO to direct the Comelec to resume and continue its preparation for the barangay elections consistent with Comelec’s manifestation that, in the event that my petition is granted, it can still hold the election in May 2023.”

“In a word, the fight is not yet over since the issue is whether or not Congress can postpone the barangay polls,” Macalintal said.

He also cited a portion of the Office of the Solicitor General’s (OSG) manifestation admitting the urgency “to remove what had so far become the practice of postponing barangay elections and, in the process extending the term of barangay officials thru piecemeal election postponement legislations.”

In his petition, Macalintal said RA 11935 was unconstitutional, invalid, and inoperative to the extent that it provided the postponement of the elections because Congress has the “power” to fix the term of barangay officials but not to extend their tenure.

He added that the questioned law allowed Congress to appoint barangay officials whose term shall expire on December 31, 2022.

He added that the questioned law violates the electorate’s right to due process as they are forced to accept these appointed barangay leaders without notice and hearing.

RA 11935 is a consolidation of House Bill No. 4673 and Senate Bill No. 1306, which was passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate of the Philippines on Sept. 28, 2022.