President Rodrigo Duterte signed Republic Act 10952 postponing the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections to May next year. The Freeman/Paul Jun E. Rosaroso, File photo

‘Martial law not meant to defer barangay, local elections,’ DND chief says
Rosette Adel (philstar.com) - December 13, 2017 - 7:39am

MANILA, Philippines — Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Wednesday said the barangay and local elections will not be postponed due to the extended martial law in Mindanao.

When asked by Sen. Francis Escudero whether the one-year extension of martial law would be used as basis to postpone the barangay or local elections in 2018 and in 2019, Lorenza replied that it would not be used as an excuse.

“We see no reason why the barangay election will not push through,” Lorenzana told Escudero during the interpellation at the Congress joint session, Wednesday.

Lorenzana, however, clarified that violent incidents that would prevent the electorate to go to polls may prompt the postponement of elections. He said that is only a “case-to-case basis.”

“We will advise the Comelec accordingly if that happens,” Lorezana added.

Senior Deputy Executive Secretary Menardo Guevarra agreed with Lorenzana’s stance, saying the postponement of elections is “never the purpose of the president’s proclamation of martial law.”

Guevarra said rescheduling of polls is up to the Commission on Elections as it is being fed with reports on peace and order in various areas.

For now, according to Guevarra, the elections will go on as scheduled.

President Rodrigo Duterte last October signed Republic Act 1095 or the law postponing the synchronized barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections from October 23 this year to May next year.

It was the second time that barangay and SK elections were postponed amid concerns that drug lords will fund candidates. The polls were initially slated in October 2016.

Meanwhile, the joint Congress on Wednesday granted Duterte's request to extend the martial law in Mindanao until December 2018.

RELATED: Congress approves one-year martial law extension in Mindanao

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