New law sets longer term for incumbent barangay officials

>> Sunday, October 30, 2016

Bocap posts being peddled not for sale – Sueno

TABUK CITY, Kalinga – Barangay officials will remain in holdover capacity until the elections next year, Interior Secretary Ismael Sueno has reiterated amid reports that some positions are being “peddled.”
Sueno told local officials during his visit to areas affected by Typhoon Lawin here Wednesday that barangay officials could only be removed after the elections.
“There are people...asking who are interested to take over for a fee... That is not allowed,” he said.
President Duterte signed last week the law postponing the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections from Oct. 31 this year to Oct. 23, 2017. 
Under the law, the terms of incumbent officials will be extended for a year unless they are removed or suspended from office.
Meanwhile, the Commission on Elections said election officers should hold at least two satellite registrations in every barangay to encourage more voters to participate in the SK and barangay elections.
“The election officer shall intensify the conduct of mandatory satellite registration at least twice in every barangay,” the poll body said through Resolution 10166 dated Oct. 25.
The registration can be held in public places, including barangay halls, public and private schools, commercial establishments, detention centers, resettlement areas and indigenous community areas.
The poll body will entertain request to hold additional satellite registration subject to the approval of regional election directors or provincial election supervisors. – With Sheila Crisostomo
Incumbent barangay officials stand to enjoy an extended term of office under Republic Act 10923 or the law that resets this year’s barangay elections to Oct. 23, 2017.
Based on the law approved by President Duterte in Oct. 15, these incumbent officials would stay in office on hold-over capacity until their successors are duly elected and qualified.  
The law stated that barangay officials may be removed or suspended for cause.
Commission on Elections Chairman Andres Bautista welcomed the enactment of the law, saying he had been confident that Duterte would sign the measure.  
Bautista said since the law had been signed, the Comelec could now resume voter registration in November, wherein they expect an additional two million voters for the Sangguniang Kabataan and two million more for the barangay to sign up.
Bautista assured the public that some P6 billion intended for the barangay and SK polls are intact and will be used in 2017.  
The 411,000 official ballots that had been printed may be used by amending the dates indicated on it.
But for election lawyer Romulo Macalintal, the extension of term of office provided  by the postponement of the synchronized polls is unconstitutional.
Macalintal said it would be like allowing the officials to hold office although they no longer have the mandate of the people.
“Holdover constitutes appointment. In a word, these holdover officials are “appointed” by the legislators in violation of the constitutional provision that barangay officials should be elected by their constituents,” he added.
Macalintal cited the 2011 ruling of the Supreme Court on the Kida vs Senate case wherein the extension of term of office through holdover was declared unconstitutional.
“The holdover provision deprives the voters of the right to choose their leaders. It violates the electorate’s right to due process because Congress, whether we like it or not, imposes upon us these ‘appointed’ barangay officials without notice or hearing, when they are supposed to be elected and not appointed,” he said.
The law also states that pending the election of the new SK officials, its funds should not be used except for youth development and empowerment programs provided under the SK Reform Act of 2015.
This, as outgoing Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) chief Henrietta de Villa is in favor of postponing the barangay elections to next year.
De Villa, who will turn over the PPCRV leadership to former Comelec Commissioner Rene Sarmiento on Nov. 1, said past experiences showed there should be adequate spacing between elections


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