MANILA, July 8, 2013 (PHILSTAR) By Paolo Romero - Caloocan City Rep. Edgar Erice backed calls for the abolition of the Sangguniang Kabataan and the cancellation of the scheduled SK elections in October, saying the political entity for the youth was a “school of corruption.”

Erice filed House Bill 1122 which seeks to amend Republic Act 7160, or the Local Government Code, to abolish the SK and create the Barangay Youth Council (BYC).

He said Congress must immediately decide on pending bills seeking the abolition of the barangay-based youth organization as it no longer serves its purpose.

“Through the years, it has been observed that the ugly side of Philippine politics has served to distract the Sangguniang Kabataan from its primordial mission. It has become the logical first target of any local politician who is seeking higher position,” Erice said.

SK officers have been “exposed to corrupt practices of their unscrupulous elders in government service, transforming it into a school of corruption,” he added.

He also noted that SK officers have to deal with the conflicting demands of completing an education, fulfilling family obligations and performing official government functions.

But he assured the youth that their voices will continue to be heard through the BYC.

The BYC will be headed by the youngest elected barangay councilman and composed of committees for sports, environment, education and culture and the arts. They will receive no compensation.

Erice said the previous SK setup was purely volunteer as no funds were allocated for the barangay unit.

Quezon City Rep. Winston Castelo, on the other hand, proposed the scrapping of the budget for SK as an item in the overall barangay budget, saying this move would stop corruption in the youth organization.

He said the corruption in the SK emanates from its leaders’ access to public funds and that “a budget-less SK would be the appropriate antidote for such political corruption.”

Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone, however, cautioned against immediately abolishing the SK.

He said the SK elections can be postponed while congressmen are “debating on major structural changes.”

“We should not deprive the youth of representation and voice but major reforms are needed,” Evardone added.


Estrada wants more time to answer disqualification raps By Dona Z. Pazzibugan Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines–Ousted President and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada failed to answer the disqualification case against him on the deadline set by the Supreme Court.

Estrada, through his lawyer George Erwin Garcia, instead asked the SC for more time—30 days to be exact—to reply to the disqualification case filed by lawyer Alicia Risos-Vidal.

In a motion filed Thursday, July 4, Garcia told the SC he needed a month to formulate “a more responsive comment,” saying he was saddled with “many active cases of equal importance.”

The SC gave Estrada until July 7, Sunday, to comment on the case brought against him.

Garcia said Estrada’s lawyer, former Socilitor General Frank Chavez, received a copy of the SC’s June 5 order on June 27.

Garcia said Estrada hired him on Tuesday, July 2.

“The indulgence of this Honorable Court is sought on the matter considering that numerous pleadings that require immediate preparations and submissions as well as appearances in the many active cases of equal importance are being handled by undersigned counsel,” Garcia said.

Vidal had asked the SC to reverse the Commission on Elections’ ruling dismissing her plea for Estrada’s disqualification.

The lawyer argued that Estrada should not be allowed to run for any elective post because his pardon on his plunder conviction was conditional and not absolute.

Former Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim, whom Estrada edged in the May 13 elections, also filed a similar petition with the high court.

Estrada received 343,993 votes against Lim’s 308,544 votes.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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