A church-based election watchdog has criticized the Philippine government’s plan to indefinitely postpone village polls that were originally scheduled for October last year.
The election of the country’s village leaders was originally slated for on Oct. 31, 2016, but President Rodrigo Duterte put them off to October this year. Now Duterte says he wanted polls postponed indefinitely and leaders appointed due to alleged influence of drug money in local politics.
The move has outraged election watchdogs.
“There is no substitute to periodic elections in a democracy to check the accountability of elected officials [and] to get a fresh mandate,” said Rene Sarmiento, chairman of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting.
The National Movement for Free Elections also expressed concern.
“Postponing elections undermine a democratic process instituted to ensure every individual citizen’s right to choose their leaders and make them accountable,” said Eric Alvia, secretary-general of the movement.
Sarmiento said village polls could only be postponed “for legitimate reasons.”