IT is official and final. These questions that were raised, largely because of the delay in the release of the enrolled bill and the announcement of the enacted law (Republic Act #10952) itself, should now be laid to rest:
■ Cebu City ABC chief Philip Zafra, who sits in the City Council as ex-officio member “shall continue to serve” until his successor is elected and qualified.
■ Election of the next ABC president who may succeed Zafra will be held not later than July 31, 2018, or after the barangay and SK elections that are reset to May 13, 2018.
■ There are no provisions on replacement of any barangay official by OICs. Copy of the Senate bill (SB #1584), which the House adopted as its version, was posted on its upper house website. But it erroneously carried the OIC provisions, thus fueling the speculation. Though signed into law last Oct. 2, R.A. #10952 was released only last Oct. 4.
The 2016 snafu
WHY did Liga ng mga Barangay not hold elections when terms of ABC chiefs expired last June 30, 2016? Had the Liga done it, Zafra would’ve had either a new term or been already replaced.
Here’s a puzzler: R.A. #10923, which put off the Oct. 31, 2016 elections until Oct. 23, 2017, DID NOT contain a provision on holdover of ex-officio “sanggunian” members. It merely granted the right of all barangay officials to remain in office until the 2017 elections.
Oversight? The previous law (R.A. #9340 of Sept. 2, 2015) amended an earlier (R.A.#9164 of March 19, 2002) -- both postponing barangay polls -- to include the provision granting ex-officio members of local legislatures the right to hold over. Odd indeed that the law moving the 2016 elections was silent about holdover by ex-officio lawmakers. The 2016 experience instructs not just local politicians but the lawmakers themselves. The law should be specific and clear and those who argue about it must be sure what the law says before opening their mouth.
P.S. Without a successor after June 30, 2016, Zafra could still have kept his seat under the Supreme Court interpretation of the Local Government Code rule on succession: no vacuum in “sanggunian” representation.
TIP US OFF. TELL US ABOUT IT.
Published in the SunStar Cebu newspaper on October 06, 2017.
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