On Comelec Resolution No. 9763-A A +A
By DP Limlingan
Thursday, October 24, 2013
LAST Tuesday, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) office of the Provincial Election Supervisor (PES) disclosed that only eight towns in Pampanga have remitted their P10,000 per barangay share for the conduct of the barangay elections this coming Monday.
Atty. Lydia Pangilinan, Provincial Election Supervisor, said the towns of Magalang, Minalin, Lubao, San Luis, San Simon, Sto. Tomas, Sasmuan and the City of San Fernando has so far complied with Comelec Resolution No. 9763 which requires barangays to contribute the said amount as augmentation funds for the forthcoming poll’s expenses.
As per the poll body's resolution, the funds shall be used to pay the allowance of teachers, who will serve in the conduct of elections on October 28.
There are 21 towns in the province, and with a few days left before the elections, barangays seem adamant in remitting their shares to the Comelec. Some barangays have intimated their unwillingness to adhere to the resolution, citing the insufficiency of their barangay funds as their reason.
While there are barangays in Pampanga with high incomes, there are those with low Internal Revenue Allotments (IRA), especially those in far-flung areas, officials of which stated that the amount is just too onerous for them to share for election expenses.
Meanwhile, Pampanga Mayors’ League (PML) President Oscar Tetangco Jr. of Apalit town said they are still waiting for the Joint Resolution of the Commission on Audit (COA) and the Comelec before barangays could remit the P10,000 to the election body.
Mayor Tetangco added that they are merely avoiding any legal implication in the release of the funds while the issue is yet to be resolved.
Earlier, ex-officio Board Member and Pampanga Liga ng mga Barangay president Melchor Pingol, speaking in behalf of his fellow barangay captains, stressed that the 505 village chairmen in the province are amenable to the Comelec’s order for the allocation of P10,000 for the conduct of the barangay elections on October 28.
This according to him is despite his fellow barangay leaders’ opposition to the sharing of barangay funds for the elections. He perhaps overstated barangay captains’ stand on the Comelec resolution.
Pingol even said that barangay officials will be getting from their respective Sangguniang Kabataan funds for their P10,000 shares. His words are now being expected to be realized.
Meanwhile, Pangilinan stressed that the poll body is just implementing the provisions of the Omnibus Election Code which provides penalty under Section 51.
She said the augmentation of funds for the elections from barangay funds is anchored on the provisions of the law, and that a mere circular or any issuance from the COA cannot supersede Comelec Resolution No. 9763.
On its legal aspect, I opine that barangays should meantime yield to the principle of presumption of regularity before they violate the Comelec resolution. They have to first pay the amount and there should be a ruling made that the sharing of funds for the elections is bereft of any legal basis. They can always get a refund of the amount they shared.
Despite the cloud on the legality of the augmentation of funds, barangays should initially obey what the poll body resolved, considering that there are a few days left before the barangay elections shall be conducted.
On the other hand, we cannot really blame other barangays for being obstinate in sharing a little of the little they have in their coffers.
I express my deepest sympathies to the family, relatives and friends of colleague Herbert Mapiles, who met his untimely death last Monday. We will surely miss him.
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Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on October 25, 2013.