(File photo)

MANILA – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) said it is prepared to hold the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) even this year and thanked the Supreme Court for acknowledging its efforts during the May 9 polls.

The Comelec aired its side during Friday’s oral arguments that tackled the petition of election lawyer Romulo Macalintal, who claimed Republic Act 11935 that reset the BSKE from December 5 to October 2023 is unconstitutional.

“(Comelec) Chairman (George) Garcia propounded facts on the Comelec's state of readiness to conduct the BSKE, whether it be on December 2022 or October 2023,” Comelec spokesperson John Rex Laudiangco said in a statement on Saturday.

“More importantly, we heartily thank the Honorable Chief Justice (Alexander Gesmundo) and the Associate Justices of the Court for lauding the commission's superb conduct of the May 9, 2022 national and local elections with utmost credibility, integrity, and professionalism.”

Laudiangco said they were humbled by the recognition and assured the Comelec is very much capable and competent to prepare for and ultimately conduct the BSKE.

“We will use them as inspirations in ever more effectively and efficiently conducting all future electoral exercises, and in bringing them closer to the Filipinos with one innovation after another,” the Comelec statement read.

At the same time, Laudiangco reiterated that they would “submit to the wisdom of the Highest Court and will comply with its orders, processes and, most importantly, its decision on the petitions.”

Solicitor General Menardo Guevarra argued for the state, saying there is no constitutional prohibition on the legislature from passing laws regarding the elections.

"There is then no question that absent any implied or express constitutional limitation, Congress is free to legislate on a broad range of subjects, especially matters of public interest. Its plenary power is a direct result of a constitutional grant and must be respected in all facets of governance," the government position read.

Macalintal argued that the Constitution does not give Congress the power to postpone the elections or to extend the term of office of village officials because it is within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Comelec “after it has determined that serious causes warrant such postponement.”

He did not question the youth polls as “SK membership is a mere statutory right conferred by law and that Congress may amend at any time the law to change or even withdraw the statutory right.” (PNA)