MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections will conduct public hearings on whether to postpone or not the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections in Mindanao set on May 14.
The Comelec en banc said that the public hearings will be conducted in connection with the one-year extension of martial law in Mindanao.
The public hearings will be held on January 22 at 700 Gov. Carmins Avenue in Zamboanga City and on January 29 at the Alnor Hotel and Convention Center in Cotabato City.
Comelec is also considering to conduct a third public hearing in Cagayan de Oro City.
According to Article 1, Section 5 of the Omnibus Election Code, the commission may motu propio postpone elections in a particular location, after due notice and hearing, when the holding of orderly and honest elections would become impossible due to violence, terrorism, destruction of election paraphernalia, among others.
The joint Congress last December granted President Rodrigo Duterte’s request to extend the martial law in Mindanao until December 2018, citing continuing threats of ISIS-inspired terrorists, local terrorist groups and the New People’s Army.
During the session, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said that the one-year extension of martial law would not be used as an excuse to postpone the 2018 barangay elections.
Last October, Duterte signed the law postponing the synchronized barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan polls from October 23 last year to the second Monday of May this year.
The village polls were initially slated in October 2016 but it was canceled amid concerns that drug lords will fund candidates.