Abuse of power: Election lawyer blasts move to postpone barangay, SK polls

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 17 2022 10:36 AM | Updated as of Aug 17 2022 01:31 PM

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MANILA – An election lawyer is hoping President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. vetoes the law postponing the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections if ever it reaches his desk.

A House panel on Tuesday voted to postpone the Dec. 5, 2022 BSKE for a year.

“I hope na pag nasubmit kay Pangulo, ay hindi pirmahan ng Pangulo. Sana yan i-veto,” Atty. Romulo Macalintal told TeleRadyo.

(I hope that when this reaches the president, he won't sign it. I hope he will veto it.)

In the interview, Macalintal listed several reasons why the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections should not be postponed. 

He said that under the Constitution, Congress can fix term or decide how long barangay officials can serve the people. 

"Hindi sinasabi sa Saligang Batas na ang Congress ay may kapangyarihan na mag-postpone ng eleksyon,” he noted.

(It doesn't say that they have the power to postpone elections.)

“Pangalawa, ang sinasabi ng ating Saligang Batas, ang isang manunungkulan ay dapat merong mandato ng taumbayan. Kapagka pinostpone mo yan at sila ay na-extend o tinatawag na holdover capacity, eh wala silang mandato,” he explained.

(Second, the Constitution states an official must have the people's mandate. If an election is postponed, he begins to serve in a holdover capacity.)

Macalintal said the law states that barangay officials must get the mandate of the people by an election.

“Ang sabi ng Korte Suprema, ang holdover means legislative appointment. Sa ilalim ng Saligang Batas, ang mga barangay officials, dapat elected, hindi appointed.”

(The Supreme Court says a holdover capacity is a legislative appointment. Under the Constitution, barangay officials must be elected, not appointed.)

The lawyer said extending the terms of local officials may lead to abuse of power.

“Ang kontrata nila sa atin 3 taon. Wala naman nakalagay sa balota na pagkatapos ng 3 taon, ie-extend kita. Hindi. Ang kontrata mo sa taumbayan ay 3 taon lamang.”

(Their contract with us is 3 years. Nothing in the ballot states that their term is extendable. Your contract with the people is 3 years only.)

“Kaya hindi mo pwedeng i-extend yan dahil sa may pandemic, may ganyan, may ganito, eh pagkagayon ay pwede pala, eh what will prevent Congress from extending the term of the president, the vice president, senador, lahat na lang ng elected officials, gagawa sila ng kung ano-anong dahilan para lamang ma-extend ang kanilang term, mag-holdover sila,” he said. 

(You can't extend a term because of a pandemic, or because of this or that. If that's the case, what'st stopping Congress from extending the term of the president, the vice president, senators, and all other elected officials?)

“That will be abuse of power.”

--TeleRadyo, 17 August 2022