QUESTIONING the new law that again postpones the election for village leaders before the Supreme Court raises public awareness on the negative implications of repeatedly deferring a democratic exercise, political analysts said at the weekend.
Arjan P. Aguirre, a political professor at Ateneo de Manila University, said the petition filed before the country’s High Court highlights the “political implications of frequently suspending Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections.”
He was referring to the smallest administrative unit under the Philippine government system and community-level youth council.
“Majority parties are prone to using the suspension of Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections as leverage for winning national and local elections,” he said in a Facebook Messenger chat.
He said barangay officials with their solid networks are usually mobilized as part of the political machinery during elections.
Michael Henry Ll. Yusingco, a lawyer and policy analyst, said in a Facebook Messenger chat that the Supreme Court petition also underscores how election postponement undermines the democratic process.
“Instead of making our democracy stronger, postponing the (barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections) does the exact opposite, Congress seems to be oblivious to this fact,” he said.
When Congress postpones village elections, it proves the clan mentality of lawmakers in preserving their power, he said.
“This is another ill effect of our legislature being dominated by political dynasties,” he said. “Postponing BSKE without regard for our democracy is a perfect example of this.”
Last week, election lawyer Romulo B. Macalintal filed a petition arguing that Congress does not have the power to defer the village elections, which is supposed to be held in December.
The law signed earlier this month by President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. postpones the elections to October next year.
Mr. Macalintal argued in his petition that the power of deferring elections is vested in the Commission on Elections (Comelec) under the provisions of the Omnibus Election Code.
The Comelec and Office of the President are named respondents in the case.
Cavite Rep. Elpidio F. Barazaga, Jr., vice chair of the Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms, stood firm that Congress has the power to pass legislation that suspends village elections. — Kyanna Angela Bulan