BALLOT BOXES. The Commission on Elections in Negros Oriental has started doing an inventory of ballot boxes to be used in the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections on Dec. 5, 2022. The Comelec will request for new ones in the event of unserviceable ballot boxes. (PNA file photo by Judy Flores Partlow) 

MANILA – Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel III admitted on Thursday that the two-member minority bloc in the Senate has little chance of stopping the postponement of the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) scheduled in December this year.

Pimentel said that with the measure gaining overwhelming support both in the House of Representatives and the Senate, it seems like a "losing battle" on the part of the minority.

"In the Senate yesterday, two of us voted 'no' in the approval in second reading. Since there are 24 members in the Senate, pwede na nating i-assume na (we can assume that) 22 versus 2. So, long shot yung posisyon namin (our position)," he admitted in an interview with CNN Philippines.

"Long shot na lang kaysa sa imposible (instead of impossible)," Pimentel added when asked if it is already 'impossible' to prevent the BSKE postponement from happening.

The Senate minority leader explained that he and his deputy minority leader Senator Risa Hontiveros are not convinced of the reasons given by Senator Imee Marcos on why BSKE should be deferred.

Marcos, who chairs the Senate Committee on Electoral Reforms and People's Participation, also expressed her reluctance to postpone BSKE during her recent privilege speech as sponsor of Senate Bill 1306.

"Well ako ang nag-sponsor ng pagpapaliban dahil ‘yun ang (I sponsored the postponement because that was the) consensus. Alam naman ninyo, boto-boto naman yan. Pero ‘yung ayoko kasing paliban ng paliban, nakakalito at saka gastos ka ng gastos habang naghihintay (You know, it still needs to be voted on. But I do not really want to delay it more because it is confusing and you have to spend more while waiting)," she said.

However, Imee said she also sees the BSKE deferral as an opportunity for the lawmakers to fix and finalize the Sangguniang Kabataan system and the term of barangay officials.

The Commission on Elections is mandated to continue preparations for the original schedule of BSKE unless the law is repealed or amended. (PNA)