Press Release
July 2, 2023

Tolentino: Future postponement of Barangay, SK polls still possible despite SC ruling

MANILA - Senator Francis 'TOL' N. Tolentino said future deferment of Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) remains a possibility despite the recent Supreme Court (SC) ruling which invalidates the law postponing the 2022 BSKE.

Tolentino, chairman of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights, made the remarks during an interview with Super Radyo DZBB on Sunday.

According to Tolentino, despite the high court's ruling which declared Republic Act No. 11935--the law postponing the BSKE from its initial schedule of December 5, 2022, to the last Monday of October 2023--as 'unconstitutional,' the decision was also clear that any future postponement must be in accordance to the guidelines set by SC such as the presence of a public emergency and it is "intended to safeguard other fundamental rights of the electorate."

"Ngayon po maliwanag na, may guidelines po ang Korte Suprema subalit hindi po sinasabi sa (bagong) Supreme Court decision na bawal nang mag-postpone (ng BSKE). Basta sundin mo yung limang guidelines, it will not prevent future Congresses from postponing--kung mami-meet po itong guidelines na ito," said Tolentino.

In its ruling last week, the high tribunal found it imperative to set forth guidelines and principles pertaining to any government action that seeks to postpone and reschedule the conduct of any future barangay and SK polls.

"Yun naman po ang maliwanag dito. Hindi po sinabi ng Supreme Court na bawal kayo (Congress) mag-postpone," Tolentino added.

Tolentino also stressed that SC did also recognize Congress' authority to legislate laws on future 'hold overs' of incumbent barangay and SK officials, contrary to the argument of the petitioners that it can be branded as 'legislative appointments.'

Meanwhile, Tolentino said that it is up to the leadership of both houses of Congress, especially the members of the majority bloc on whether to appeal the recent SC decision.

The senator also explained that despite the high court's ruling, the tribunal still recognized the legal practicality and necessity of proceeding with the conduct of the BSKE under RA 11935 on the last Monday of October 2023, pursuant to the so-called "Operative Fact Doctrine."

"Ito po ay sang-ayon din sa 1971 decision ng Supreme Court eh--Agbayani vs. PNB--na kinikilala na kung mayroon ng effect yung nagawang batas bago pa ito i-declare na unconstitutional, hindi naman po ito totally void o ipapawalang-bisa. Yung hinanda na ng Comelec--yung pagprint ng balota, yung date na ini-schedule na--matutuloy po 'yon," Tolentino stressed.

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