THE Duterte administration’s plan to replace barangay (village) officials with appointed officers-in-charge is illegal, an opposition lawmaker warned Tuesday.
Rep. Edcel Lagman of Albay cited Section 8, Article 10 of the Constitution which states that: “the term of office of elective local officials, except barangay officials, which shall be determined by law, shall be three years and no such official shall serve for more than three consecutive terms. Voluntary renunciation of the office for any length of time shall not be considered as an interruption in the continuity of his service for the full term for which he was elected.”
In addition, Lagman said that the Constitution also provided that: “the term of office of elective local officials, except barangay officials, will be determined by law, will be three years and no such official will serve for more than three consecutive terms. Voluntary renunciation of the office for any length of time shall not be considered as an interruption in the continuity of his service for the full term for which he was elected.”
“The Duterte administration’s insistence on replacing incumbent elected barangay officials with appointive OICs is a blatant violation of the Constitution and aberration which supplants the popular electoral will. The Constitution classifies barangay officials as ‘local elective officials’, and consequently, they are installed to office by electoral mandate, not by appointment,” Lagman said in a statement.
“Due to the classification by the Constitution of barangay officials as ‘elective local officials’, the various laws pertinent to the election of barangay officials provide for a hold over,” Lagman added.
Lagman also invoked Republic Act 10923 that was passed on October 2016, which postponed the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections to the fourth Monday of October 2017.
The same law also provides for a holdover “[u]ntil their successors shall have been duly elected and qualified, all incumbent barangay officials shall remain in office, unless sooner removed or suspended for cause.”
Similarly, other statutes on barangay elections like RA 6653 (May 1988), RA 9164 (March 2002) and RA 9340 (September 2005), also invariably provide for holdovers.
The Duterte administration wants the October 2017 barangay elections postponed to allow the government to get rid of officials in this level who are involved in the illegal drug trade.
“Barangay officials suspected of complicity in drug-related offenses or any criminal act must be prosecuted and removed for cause pursuant to law, not substituted with OICs,” Lagman said.
“Hold over provisions recognize that elected barangay officials shall remain in office until the election, not appointment, of their successors,” Lagman added. LLANESCA T. PANTI