Press Release
September 3, 2007


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino "Nene" Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today urged the Commission on Elections to find ways to minimize the expenses for the October 29 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections and to spare the local government units from having to shoulder part of the expenses for the political exercise.

Pimentel stood pat on his position against another postponement of the twin elections, as endorsed by some congressmen.

The Comelec, in a resolution, required LGUs to shoulder 25 percent of the expenses to be incurred in the Barangay/SK polls. But Pimentel asked why the Comelec is imposing the requirement on the LGUs when more than P2 billion is allocated for the purpose under the 2007 national budget.

Moreover, he said the Comelec cannot order, but may only request the LGUs to financially contribute to the holding of the village and youth polls.

Spelling out his stand on the LGUs being made to shoulder part of the expenses, Pimentel said: "Not if it can be avoided. I think Comelec is trying to create a conflict between its supposed favoring the elections and the LGU officials not wanting it to force the deferment of the elections."

The minority leader said if it is really necessary for LGUs to partly bankroll the expenses, 10 percent of the Internal Revenue Allotment of Barangays and SK can be set aside for the purpose.

Pimentel disputed the claim of Speaker Jose de Venecia, Jr. that there is a strong clamor among members of the House of Representatives to defer the Barangay and SK elections.

In fact, he said Cebu City Rep. Eduardo Gullas is no longer pushing for the approval of his bill deferring the Barangay and SK elections by one year. He said another Cebu congressman, Raul del Mar, has withdrawn his support for the bill.

The congressman named complied with their commitment to him that the last postponement would be the only postponement of the Barangay and SK elections.

Pimentel maintained that it will be a big mistake to further delay the twin elections because the people want to exercise their right to vote to remove undeserving and abusive Barangay and SK officials and to install a new set of leaders.

He said he also does not favor a proposal that will authorize mayors to merely appoint Barangay and SK officials.

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