Drilon deplores plan to postpone brgy, SK polls anew, extend congressmen’s term through Cha-cha

Sen. Franklin Drilon (Phil. Star file photo)

MANILA – Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon on Sunday exposed plans by administration allies in Congress to postpone the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections anew to give way to the planned Charter Change plebiscite in October 2018.

Drilon said such move by allies of the President belonging to the so-called supermajority in the House of Representatives “to give them time to railroad the proposed Charter Change which would include provisions for a term extension.”

“The first casualty of this proposed shift to federalism is the democracy. Our people are deprived of their rights to choose their leaders,” Drilon said in an interview over DZBB on Sunday.

The minority leader said this as he urged Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III “to lead the Senate to prevent a Charter Change based on the ambition of the House of Representatives for a term extension.”

“The Senate President should reflect the sentiment of all the senators. He should show his leadership in order that we should have a rational discussion of Charter Change,” said Drilon, adding that the senators would not agree to a railroaded Charter change and federalism.

“The senators will not dance the ‘chacha’ to suspend elections so that terms can be extended,” Drilon added.

“Ang nakakatakot dito ay may plano na i-railroad ang Cha-cha. Dahilan po ito ay connected sa plano nilang term extension para sa mga congressmen at ito ay magagawa sa pamamagitan ng pagkansela sa May 2019 mid-term elections sa pamamagitan ng Cha-cha,” Drilon said in the interview.

Drilon said around 80 of the present membership of the HoR are already on their last term, hence the supermajority is hatching plans to get rid of the elections and allow for an extension of their term of office through Charter Change.

The barangay and SK election, which was already postponed twice, is scheduled in May this year.

But since holding a national plebiscite this coming May is quite impossible, Drilon said the only way to postpone mid-term elections is to hold a plebiscite on Charter change simultaneously with the barangay and SK elections in October or November.

Besides, Drilon said the administration lawmakers would await the President’s proposed amendments to the Charter Change that will come from the study group headed by former Chief Justice Reynato Puno, which was given by the President until July to submit their draft.

Drilon said the supermajority would railroad within two months between August and October the Charter Change and submit it to the plebiscite together with the barangay and SK elections in October or November.

“It is bad for our democracy. They deprived our people of the right to choose their leaders which is the essence of our democracy. Our people will protest it,” Drilon said.

Drilon concluded that any plan to postpone the barangay and SK elections will be difficult as Congress only has 12 remaining session days before it adjourns on March 21.