Senate approves on 2nd reading moving barangay, SK polls to 2022

MANILA, Philippines – The proposed postponement of barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections is one step away from being passed in the Senate.

Senators passed on second reading Senate Bill No. 1043 on Tuesday, September 24, seeking to postpone the barangay and SK elections to December 5, 2022. This means SB 1043 will only have to go through a 3rd and final reading in the upper chamber.

If it hurdles the Congress and gets the President's signature, winning candidates will be proclaimed roughly a month later, on January 1, at 12 noon. Subsequent elections will happen every 3 years under the proposed measure.

Initially, the Senate panels on electoral reforms, local government, and finance proposed for the barangay and SK elections to be postponed to May 2023, but Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said that current officials would be holding office for "too long" at 5 years.

On Tuesday, Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto raised concerns over holding it in the same year as the national and senatorial elections, which is scheduled on May 2022. The Comelec raised this concern too before congressmen on Tuesday. 

"The future president will come at Congress and ask again for the postponement of elections. Our initial fear will probably be even worse," Recto said.

But Senator Imee Marcos, the sponsor of the measure, gave assurances that the Commission on Elections had already said that it wouldn't be a problem for them.

"Upon prodding during the Comelec budget, as well as the consideration of the extension that is extensive, we have come up with a work program working backwards and it brought us to December 2022," Marcos said.

"Six and half months or so is a short period and we'll be pressed for time but they claimed they can do it without undue problems," she added.

In response, Recto reiterated his concern: "Let it not be said that I did not put into record that there will be higher probability of postponing elections for the next administration after 2022."

The Comelec has already "slowed down" its preparations for the May 2020 barangay and SK elections following the President's call for Congress to postpone the polls. –

Aika Rey

Aika Rey covers the Philippine Senate for Rappler. Before writing about politicians, she covered budget, labor, and transportation issues.