Senate OKs BSKE postponement

September 28, 2022 PS Jun M. Sarmiento 237 views

THE Senate has approved on third and final reading a bill seeking to postpone the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections (BSKE) from December this year to December 2023 with 17 affirmative votes and two against the postponement.

Senate Bill (SB) No. 1306, or “An Act Postponing the December 2022 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) Elections”, seeks to amend Republic Act No. 9164, as amended by Republic Act No. 9340, Republic Act No. 10632, Republic Act No. 10656, Republic Act No. 10923, Republic Act No. 10952, and Republic Act No. 11462.

The bill was sponsored by Senator Imee R. Marcos.

“The fact that the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections have been postponed relentlessly through decades merely underlies the unfinished business of deeper issues plaguing both the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan systems,” Marcos said in her sponsorship speech.

“Thus, this proposed election postponement is a means to buy us time for a series of measures that the Committee on Electoral Reforms and People’s Participation is proposing to Congress. This is merely a preliminary measure to give us time to study and debate the deeper issues confronting the barangay and SK systems under our present law,” she added.

Section 3 of the bill, the “hold over” provision, states that “until their successors shall have been duly elected and qualified, all incumbent Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan officials shall remain in office, unless sooner removed or suspended for cause: Provided that the barangay and angguniang kabataan officials who are ex officio members of the sangguniang bayan, sangguniang panlungsod, or sangguniang panlalawigan, as the case may be, shall continue to serve as such members in the sanggunian concerned until the next barangay and sangguniang kabataan elections.”

“The amount necessary for the implementation of this Act shall be taken from the appropriations of the Commission on Elections under the General Appropriations Act and/or supplementary appropriations thereafter: Provided, that the additional budget for the barangay and sangguniang kabataan elections to be held on the second Monday of December 2023 shall not exceed 15 percent of the budget allocation for the postponed December 5, 2022 barangay and sangguniang kabataan elections,” the bill added.

Under the bill, the Commission on Audit (COA) shall be directed to submit before Congress an audit report on the budget used for the postponed December 5, 2022 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections within 90 days from the effectivity of the act.

“A word of caution too, regarding the budget Comelec [Commission on Elections] has requested for the postponement. Out of the P8.441 billion allotted for the December 2022 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections, there should be a balance by month’s end of roughly P7.583 billion. Comelec claims, however, that they have somehow obligated or disbursed far more. And then, they are requesting that should the elections be postponed to December 2023, the amount of P18.441 billion should be provided in the 2023 budget. That is over 218 percent more than their budget this year. An amount which I think is unmerited,” Marcos explained.

Three years ago, Marcos also sponsored the first Act passed by the 18th Congress, postponing the BSKE from the second Monday of May 2020 to December 5, 2022.