The last Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) was held in 2018 after two previous postponements. The next BSKE should have been held in year 2020, however it was again postponed to December 2022, and finally (hopefully), it will be held on October 30, 2023 pursuant to Republic Act 11935 signed by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., officially setting the BSKE date to the last Monday of October, 2023 and every three (3) years thereafter.
Some reasons cited for the continued postponements were – to save funds which could be used for the government’s covid-19 response efforts, to give Comelec a time to rest after the May 9, 2022 National and Local Elections, and for the funds to be allocated to some concerns like the economic recovery. Even before the pandemic occurred, congress always moves to postpone the BSKE. Come to think of it, it would be easier to postpone the BSKE because the government positions to be elected in this kind of elections are not constitutional positions. Otherwise, the enactment of a law that would postpone the BSKE would need the holding of a plebiscite to ratify such extension of the term of officials.
The continued act of postponing the BSKE would have some benefits but seriously, there are certain negative effects. One would be, it would delay the exercise of suffrage which was already previously set. It could also increase the waiting time for those incoming officials who are interested to run and could be winnable. Delays in holding the elections promote the extended stay of long- time officials who are either tired or should be retired.
In addition to all these attempts to postpone the elections, there is still a pending petition with the Supreme Court questioning the constitutionality of RA 11935 and in case this is granted, the BSKE elections will be held in May 2023. Whether the elections will be held in May or October 2023, the Comelec is ready to conduct the same because preparations have already begun since last year. Given the fact that the BSKE will be administered manually, and because the barangay elections are non-partisan and shall be conducted in an expeditious and inexpensive manner (Section 38, Omnibus Election Code), this will not entail adherence to stricter rules on automated technology. Comelec Resolution no. 10868, promulgated on 29 November 2022 which prescribes the Rules and Regulations on the Conduct of the System of Continuing Registration of Voters for the Barangay and SK Elections sets the last day for applying for registration as a voter, applying for a change of name or correction of entries in their voter’s records, applying for transfer of registration, reactivation, reinstatement of records, including the updating of voters’ records on Tuesday, January 31, 2023. Unless extended, it gives a little more time to those who are yet to visit the Comelec office. At this point in time, the exact election day for the BSKE remains elusive, but the fact stands that it is a day certain, that it will be finally held soon.
***Comment/s or remarks mentioned in this article are made by be in my personal capacity as a lawyer
and not as an employee of the Comelec.