Tell it to SunStar: Extension of terms without an election

WE EMPHASIZED the importance of elected officials submitting themselves to regular elections to receive a fresh mandate from their constituents. This is in reaction to the proposed postponement of the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections (BSKE) to December 2022, which was just signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte.

The reason propounded for moving the election date was to give village and youth council officials more time to implement their projects. While the reason has some validity, incumbent elected officials have to submit themselves to the people’s mandate through periodic elections.

If constituents are satisfied with their performance, they need not worry about their terms being cut. They can continue implementing their respective programs or projects with a fresh and stronger mandate.

We oppose any postponement to the BSKE because doing so will contravene the principle of regularity in the conduct of an election, extend the terms of elected officials without being elected anew, and will deprive the electorate of seeking accountability from elected officials through the ballot.

Changing election dates set by law can be justified only by the presence of conditions enumerated in the Philippine Omnibus Election Code, such as violence, terrorism, loss or destruction of election paraphernalia or records, and force majeure. None of these conditions exist, and no such consultations were done by the Comelec with the voting public.

The extension of terms of village and youth officials by another two and a half years, well past the presidential/national elections in May 2022, could lead to the politicization of the barangays and SK, and they could be utilized for the campaigns. (By National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel)