MANILA, Oct 21 (Mabuhay) — President Ferdinand R. Marcos on Thursday defended his decision to sign a law postponing the barangay (village) and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections originally set in December 2022.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. (MNS photo)

This, after election lawyer Romulo Macalintal filed a petition before the Supreme Court (SC) to nullify Republic Act (RA) 11935 which moves the holding of village and youth council elections to October 2023.

Marcos said there is “sufficient precedent” for the postponement of the Dec. 5 polls for new bargangay and SK officials, citing the laws signed under the past administration to defer the elections.

“Well, we have sufficient precedent for the postponement of barangay and SK elections. Nakailan na tayo (It has been done numerous times). In my time lang in government, I have seen I think four, maybe five postponements,” he said in a chance interview at the Manila Hotel.

This is the fourth deferment of the village and youth council’s elections since 2016.

Marcos’ predecessor, former President Rodrigo Duterte, signed the three other laws postponing the elections.

On Monday, Macalintal argued in his petition that Congress has no authority to postpone the election of village officials because the power “exclusively belongs to the Comelec (Commission on Elections).”

Macalintal also questioned the constitutionality of RA 11935, saying the 1987 Constitution does not give Congress “the power to postpone the barangay elections nor to extend the term of office of the barangay officials.”

Marcos, however, believed otherwise, saying Congress has the power to do so.

“So, I think, in terms of the law, it is well within the powers of Congress to postpone those elections because that is not contained in the Constitution, it is contained in the Local Government Code,” he said.

RA 11935, inked by Marcos on Oct. 10, moved the village and youth council’s elections to the last Monday of October 2023.

Under RA 11935, all incumbent village and SK officials shall remain in office, unless removed or suspended, according to the law.

The term of office of the village and SK officials will start at noon of Nov. 30 following their election, according to the law.  (MNS)