UNLESS stricken out and vetoed by President Rodrigo Duterte, the “hold-over” provision in the measure postponing the Oct. 23, 2017 barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections to the second Monday of May is set to resolve the issue on the status of all ex-officio members sitting in the municipal and city councils and the provincial boards.
But the “hold-over” controversy only erupted in Cebu City, with some City Hall “bright minds” pretending to know the law. The Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK) moved to oust Association of Barangay Councils (ABC) president Felix Zafra as it needs to dominate the council. Of all the mayors in the country, the “former political has-been” is the brightest, as he is the only one who thought of it.
Section 3 of Senate Bill 1584 states that, “Until their successors shall have been duly elected and qualified or until the President, through the Executive Secretary, shall appoint officers-in-charge for the barangay, all incumbent barangay officials shall remain in office, unless removed or suspended for cause: Provided, that in addition to the other causes under existing laws, inclusion of the name of an incumbent barangay official in the duly confirmed and validated drug list provided to and in possession of the President shall constitute sufficient cause for the appointment of officers-in-charge for the barangay; and provided, finally, that barangay officials who are ex-officio members of the Sangguniang Bayan, Sangguniang Panlungsod or Sangguniang Panlalawigan, as the case may be shall continue to serve as such members of the sanggunian concerned until the next barangay election. The Liga ng nga Barangay at the municipal, city, and provincial levels shall, within thirty days after the next barangay election, conduct elections for ex-officio positions in the sangguniang under the supervision of the Department of Interior and Local Government.”
If this measure becomes law, this will settle the issue. But Sen. Richard Gordon said on television that the drug list” provision might be scrapped in the final bill as this might create confusion and controversy in the manner of appointment. Meaning, those in the “drug list” will no longer be fired and replaced with officers-in-charge.
But we cannot read the mind of the president. If in the final draft he would veto this provision and insist on appointing OICs, what will happen? The involvement of some village officials in the illegal drug trade was the main reason the president sought the postponement of the barangay and SK elections.
Now, if the “former political has-been” insists on going to court to oust Zafra, what is his legal basis? I think he will use the “Doctrine of Rabatitat.” (The “Doctrine of Rabatitat” was used by the late veteran criminal lawyer Amadeo “Matoy” Seno Sr. to antagonize his court opponents, including neophyte judges. Maybe fellow columnist Eddie Barrita will expound on that in his column as he knows the story).