I am a resident of a certain barangay. I know that our Barangay Chairman is collecting fees from drivers of delivery vans who are parking in front of our Barangay Hall. These fees are not substantiated by receipts; thus, we do not have any record to account the same. I had a heated argument with the Brgy. Chairman last week regarding this matter including all anomalous transactions entered by him so I am now planning to file a complaint against him. Where will I file the complaint?
Your complaint against the Barangay Chairman can be lodged at the Sangguniang Bayan or Sangguniang Panlungsod exercising jurisdiction over your area. This is in consonance with the provision of Section 61 (c) of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 7160 which states that: “a complaint against any elective barangay official shall be filed before the sangguniang panlungsod or sangguniang bayan concerned whose decision shall be final and executory.”
Section 60 of same law also provides that, an elective local official may be disciplined, suspended, or removed from office on any of the following grounds:
a) Disloyalty to the Republic of the Philippines;
b) Culpable violation of the Constitution;
c) Dishonesty, oppression, misconduct in office, gross negligence, or dereliction of duty;
d) Commission of any offense involving moral turpitude or an offense punishable by at least prision mayor;
e) Abuse of authority;
f) Unauthorized absence for fifteen (15) consecutive working days, except in the case of members of the sangguniang panlalawigan, sangguniang panlungsod, sangguniang bayan, and sangguniang barangay;
g) Application for, acquisition of, foreign citizenship or residence or the status of an immigrant of another country; and
h) Such other grounds as may be provided in this Code and other laws.
An elected local official may be removed from office on any of the grounds enumerated above by order of the proper court.
Please be guided by the decision of the Supreme Court in the case of Barangay Sanggunian of Don Mariano Marcos vs Punong Barangay Martinez, (G. R. No. 170626, March 3, 2008), where the high court said that:
“As the law stands, Section 61 of the Local Government Code provides for the procedure for the filing of an administrative case against an erring elective barangay official before the Sangguniang Panlungsod or Sangguniang Bayan. However, the Sangguniang Panlungsod or Sangguniang Bayan cannot order the removal of an erring elective barangay official from office,as the courts are exclusively vested with this power under Section 60 of the Local Government Code. Thus, if the acts allegedly committed by the barangay official are of a grave nature and, if found guilty, would merit the penalty of removal from office, the case should be filed with the regional trial court. Once the court assumes jurisdiction, it retains jurisdiction over the case even if it would be subsequently apparent during the trial that a penalty less than removal from office is appropriate. On the other hand, the most extreme penalty that the Sangguniang Panlungsod or Sangguniang Bayan may impose on the erring elective barangay official is suspension; if it deems that the removal of the official from service is warranted, then it can resolve that the proper charges be filed in court.” (Emphasis supplied)
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