De Lima seeks probe of barangay poll postponement

April 25, 2017 - 9:43 AM
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Senator Leila de Lima (Reuters file photo)

Senator Leila de Lima has filed a resolution seeking an inquiry into administration plans to postpone the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections in October and replace village officials with presidential appointees.

“Postponing the barangay elections and appointing barangay officials would undermine our democracy by depriving our people of the right to elect their leaders,” Proposed Senate Resolution 339, which De Lima filed from detention, said.

De Lima is detained in Camp Crame while awaiting trial for drug trading charges filed against her by the Department of Justice. The senator maintains the charges against her are meant to persecute her for her persistent criticism of the extrajudicial killings she accuses President Rodrigo Duterte of ordering since he was still mayor of Davao City.

Thousands of lives have been lost since Duterte came to office last year and announced a “war on drugs” he pledged would be bloody. Duterte has often responded to critics with invective-laden diatribes.

But the lawyer of Edgar Matobato, the self-confessed member of the so-called “Davao Death Squad” that Duterte is accused of having created while mayor of the Mindanao city, has filed a complaint against the President and several other officials before the International Criminal Court, accusing them of “crimes against humanity.”

De Lima, who chairs the Senate committee on electoral reforms and people’s participation, questioned Duterte’s justification for postponing the village elections — because 40 percent of barangay officials are supposedly involved in the drug trade.

“The President’s pronouncement that only those who are in the drug list would win the barangay elections appears to have no factual basis and apparently only seeks to discredit duly-elected officials,” she said.

“There is a need to investigate the veracity of the allegation of the President,” she added.

De Lima also cited the need to find out how the Commission on Elections is preparing for the village poll.