Umali on barangay poll postponement: If there's a will, there's a way
House Justice Chairman Reynaldo Umali. INQUIRER PHOTO / NINO JESUS ORBETA
“If there’s a will, there’s a way.”
This was how Oriental Mindoro 2nd District Rep. Reynaldo Umali dismissed pronouncements of Senate leaders that they might not have enough time to approve the postponement of the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections scheduled on May 14.
Umali, as well as Representatives Johnny Ty Pimentel, Jose Panganiban Jr., and Edgar Sarmiento, had filed separate bills to postpone the local elections for the third time.
On Monday, the House suffrage and electoral reforms committee voted to approve the postponement of the elections and separately voted to set the new date on Oct. 8.
Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III earlier said he no longer sees any reasons to postpone again the barangay and SK polls, while Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III said the proposed postponement lacks time and support by majority members.
“Eh sabi nya ‘yun, eh kami nga isang araw (kaya na) and then siguro ito matatapos namin eh. ‘Pag gusto may paraan; ‘pag ayaw may dahilan. Ganun kasimple lang yun,” Umali told reporters in an interview.
(Well that’s what he said, while we were able to do it in one day, and then we will probably be able to finish this. If there’s a will, there’s a way; if you don’t want it, there’s always an excuse. It’s that simple.)
Umali said the Senate might not even need a special session to pass the measure.
“Kung bibilisan nila dun, narinig naman nila sinabi ni Presdidente diba? Congress will be blamed if narco politicians set in the barangay and SK elections. On our part ayaw namin masisi,” he added.
(If they hurry it up, they heard the President say it, didn’t they? Congress will be blamed if narco politicians set in the barangay and SK elections. On our part, we don’t want to be blamed.)
Umali has remained optimistic that even though no bill to postpone the elections had been filed at the upper House, Senate members could still push for it.
“They can file the bill, hear it tomorrow, approve it on Monday, approve it on 3rd reading either Tuesday or Wednesday next week and we’re on,” he said.
Congress will go on recess on March 23 and will resume on May 14.
The barangay and SK elections were originally scheduled for Oct. 31, 2016, and were later moved to Oct. 23, 2017 and then May 14, 2018. /je