PPCRV says ‘legitimate’ reason needed to reset barangay polls

PPCRV says ‘legitimate’ reason needed to reset barangay polls

MANILA– The proposed postponement of the barangay elections this year would need a valid reason determined thru a proper process, a Church-backed poll watchdog said.

The Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting did not make a categorical statement on the matter but said the proposal would need careful study.

PPCRV chair Rene Sarmiento said there is no substitute to periodic elections in a democracy to check the accountability of elected officials to get fresh mandate and that includes barangay polls.

“For reasons that are legitimate, I see no reason why barangay elections be not postponed, as was done a number of times in the past,” Sarmiento said.

“(But) Congress should hold hearings to determine the gravity and its impact on barangay elections,” he said.

The National Movement for Free Elections, on the other hand, disagreed with President Rodrigo Duterte’s move to reset the elections because of alleged involvement of drug money during such exercise.

NAMFREL Secretary General Eric Alvia said elections should have “regularity” and should push through.

“Postponing elections undermine a democratic process instituted to ensure every individual citizen’s right to choose their leaders and make them accountable,” he said.

The election was supposed to be held last year but it was rescheduled for October this year.

Instead of holding elections, Duterte said he wants handpicked appointees to rid the country of drugs.

For Alvia, the Duterte administration should use the electoral exercise to advance its war against drugs and narco-politics.

“Conducting the elections this October 2017 will enhance their anti-drug campaign and aid in putting a stop to narco-politics by replacing those compromised and entrenched unfit local leaders using narco-money to perpetuate themselves in office,” he said. CBCPNews