By Aytch S. de la Cruz
Malacañang yesterday shunned reports that the allies of President Aquino are trying to pass an enabling law that would postpone the simultaneous barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections scheduled this October to effectuate their plans of realigning the budget for the polls to their pork allocations.
Secretary Herminio “Sonny” Coloma of the Presidential Communications Operations Office reiterated that the President’s position has been very clear right from the start, that he wants the poll exercises to push through.
Coloma said Aquino is in constant consultations with his allies in Congress and that he listens to their opinions often, but he has no plans of changing his position on the matter.
He further said the Palace has already been informed by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) that the government is prepared enough to hold these polls in October.
“The decision of the President about it (barangay and SK polls) is clear and it was also referred to the Department of Budget and Management. I believe the amount involved is approximately P3 billion. The DBM has already determined that the funds are available and the agencies of the government, such as the Comelec, are prepared to have these scheduled elections take place,” Coloma said.
He said the Palace respects the ongoing debates at the Senate as well as in the House of Representatives in relation to the proposals for the deferment of the holding of the barangay and SK polls.
“I think the objective of our Senate and the House in pushing through with public hearings is just to get a broader public opinion regarding the issue as a guide for possible actions on this. But as far as our President and the Executive branch is concerned, our positions remain that the elections should be held as scheduled and this is in October, and we have already determined that the Comelec and the other agencies are prepared to conduct these elections,” Coloma stressed.
Earlier, Aquino announced that he will convene a Legislative and Executive Development Advisory Council (Ledac) meeting for the two co-equal branches of government to iron out the issue.
But Coloma and Presidential Management Staff chief Julia Abad have said no specific date has been scheduled yet for the Ledac meeting.
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