Our barangay chairman is about to replace our barangay treasurer. It is widely rumored that one of the persons she is considering to appoint as the new barangay treasurer is her first-degree cousin, also a licensed accountant. Someone pointed out in our barangay assembly that our chairman’s cousin is disqualified to be a barangay treasurer since she is a relative of our chairman. Is there a legal basis for her disqualification because of her blood ties to our chairman even though she is an accountant who can handle the job of a barangay treasurer? We hope for your advice. Thank you.
Republic Act (RA 7160 or the Local Government Code provides guidelines on the appointment of appointive barangay officials. With regard to qualifications for the position of barangay treasurer, the law provides that:
“Section 395. Barangay Treasurer: Appointment, Qualification, Powers and Duties. –
(a) The barangay treasurer shall be appointed by the Punong Barangay with the concurrence of the majority of all the Sangguniang Barangay members. The appointment of the barangay treasurer shall not be subject to attestation by the Civil Service Commission.
(b) The barangay treasurer shall be of legal age, a qualified voter and an actual resident of the barangay concerned.
(c) No person shall be appointed barangay treasurer if he is a Sangguniang Barangay member, a government employee or a relative of the Punong Barangay within the fourth civil degree of consanguinity or affinity.
xxx” Emphasis supplied (Sec. 394, Chapter V, Book 3, RA 7160)
The law clearly provides that relatives of the barangay chairman within the fourth civil degree of consanguinity or affinity are disqualified from being appointed as barangay treasurer. Since first-degree cousins of a barangay chairman are within her fourth civil degree of consanguinity, they cannot be appointed as barangay treasurer.
The fact that the cousin of the barangay chairman is an accountant does not change the fact of her disqualification for the position. Being an accountant is not a legal requirement for a barangay treasurer. While being an accountant may help in performing the job of a treasurer, it is not a required qualification under the law. And even if it is, the fact remains that she is still a relative who is legally disqualified to be appointed to the position.
Should your barangay chairman appoint her cousin notwithstanding the express prohibition of the law, she may face administrative and criminal charge for her action as the Revised Penal Code of the Philippines provides that:
“Art. 244. Unlawful appointments.—Any public officer who shall knowingly nominate or appoint to any public office any person lacking the legal qualifications therefor, shall suffer the penalty of arresto mayor and a fine not exceeding 1,000 pesos.”
Thus, we reiterate that by express provision of the law, first cousins of a barangay chairman, cannot be appointed as the barangay treasurer.
Again, we find it necessary to mention that this opinion is solely based on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. The opinion may vary when the facts are changed or elaborated.
We hope that we were able to enlighten you on the matter.
Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org