No House vote yet on bgy, SK poll delay

Posted at 08/23/10 5:32 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Racing against time, the House of Representatives Suffrage Committee failed Monday to vote on a bill seeking to delay the October 2010 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections.

The committee voted 21-3 to hold the vote on Wednesday upon the motion of Deputy Speaker Crispin Remulla. Remulla complained that his party, the Nacionalista Party, wants to vote on the measure but they don't have seats yet on the suffrage committee. The committee only has 23 members when it is supposed to have 34.

The committee is still in the process of organizing itself less than a month after the 15th Congress opened on July 26, 2010.

Congress only has until the first week of October before any law postponing the elections can come into effect. For any law to be valid, it must be published 2 weeks prior to the elections scheduled last Monday of October.

Legislators from many parties have been citing possible savings if the elections are postponed till next year. They said delaying the polls will also ease political tension after the May election.

The total budget for the polls is at P3.2 billion, of which only P23 million has been spent for voter registration.

President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III has called for the continuation of the elections but asked Congress to pass a law synchronizing the next election with the 2013 midterm polls.