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Stop all this talk of poll postponement

AFTER two postponements of the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections in October 2016 and in October 2017, there was yet a third move to cancel the elections for last May 2018. The House of Representatives passed a bill, by a vote of 164 to 27, for this third cancellation.

The House said the May election should be cancelled and postponed to October 2018, so it could be held together with a plebiscite on the expected new federal constitution so as to save money. Fortunately, the Senate ignored the House move, since there was no new Constitution yet for which to schedule a plebiscite. And so we held the Kabataan and SK elections last May.

For the coming mid-term elections for senators, governors, mayors, and other local officials in 2019, some officials are at it again. Some lawmakers were reported inclined to suggest the postponement of next year’s mid-term elections.

This inclination was reported by a member of the Consultative Committee drafting proposals for the coming Constituent Assembly – again to make way for a plebiscite to approve the new federal constitution.

Any move to postpone the 2019 midterm elections for any reason is totally out of the question. In one of these triennial elections, the votes elect the president, vice president, and 12 senators of the country. Three years after this presidential election, the mid-term elections are held for another 12 senators and for all local officials – governors, mayors, provincial board members, and municipal councilors.

The coming mid-term elections in May 2019, are crucial to local governments all over the country. The present local officials will have served their three-year terms of office. Many will be seeking reelection, while new faces will emerge who will challenge the incumbents.

This process of alternating national and local elections has been going on for years since the present Constitution was ratified in 1987. The people look forward to it. There is no reason to upset this system – certainly not to make way for a plebiscite for a new Constitution that has yet to be approved.

Commission on Elections spokesman James Jimenez assured in an interview last week that there is no reason to believe that the coming elections will be postponed and so the Comelec is moving ahead with all the necessary preparations.

Elections are at the center of our democratic system of government. They are the means through which the people make their wishes known to those in office. Let us have no more of these persistent efforts of some officials to cancel or postpone them.

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