Duterte signs law moving barangay, SK polls to May 2018

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Story updated to include the statement of Comelec chair Andy Bautista.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 4) — President Rodrigo Duterte signed on Monday a law postponing the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections for the second time.

"The President has signed into law the resetting of the barangay and SK elections," House Majority Floor Leader Rudy Farinas said on Wednesday.

Republic Act No. 10952 set the local elections to May 2018, with incumbent local officials ordered to remain in office.

Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chair Andy Bautista said in a statement on Wednesday that the agency welcomed the news of the postponement.

"The Commission en Banc will be issuing the necessary Resolutions to effectuate this new law," he said. "In the meantime, we advise all deputized agencies and election partners to immediately begin ramping down their election-related activities and await more detailed instructions and guidelines from the Commission on how to move forward."

Narcopolitics

The polls had originally been scheduled on October 31, 2016, but these were moved to October 23, 2017 after Duterte said he wanted the elections deferred because of possible drug money funding the local politicians' campaigns.

Read: Duterte signs law postponing SK, barangay polls - PCO

Of the 42,000 barangays in the country, around 20,000 are still considered tainted by illegal drugs, according to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency.

Duterte also said in December 2016 that dozens of barangay officials were on the "narco-list," which contains personalities allegedly connected to the illegal drug trade.

Read: Duterte inclined to postpone barangay polls to avert narco-politics

The new postponement came amid ongoing preparations for the barangay and SK elections.

In a September 5 statement, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) set the filing of certificates of candidacies from September 23 to 30 and the campaign period from October 13 to 21.

Read: Filing of candidacy for barangay, SK elections starts Sept. 23

However, the Comelec moved to postpone the local elections in Mindanao said in a separate September 5 resolution.

Mindanao was placed under martial law on May 23 after members of the Maute terrorist group attacked Marawi City.

Read: Duterte declares martial law in Mindanao