Iloilo barangay chief debunks Comelec non-partisan rule

A BARANGAY captain in Iloilo City debunked the ruling of the Omnibus Election Code on non-partisan politics in the barangay level as unavoidable.

Barangay captain Reyland Hervias said the barangay as the smallest government unit and its barangay officials are duty bound to assist their constituents during the election process or during the campaign period.

Hervias, who also is the Liga president of barangay captains in Iloilo City and sits in the City Council as councilor ex-officio, used the statement of seasoned election lawyer Romulo Macalintal, as a defense, that there is no law prohibiting barangay officials from engaging in an election campaign.

Earlier, Macalintal rebutted Commission on Election (Comelec) chairman Juan Andres Bautista on the law prohibiting barangay officials from partisan political activities.

The election law expert said the law only applies to appointed officials not elected officials.

Hervias said barangay officials cannot get away from partisan politics especially during the campaign period when candidates in various political parties seek out their assistance in holding meetings or political caucuses.

He said they are there during these activities but they are not to speak for and in behalf of any political candidate or to campaign for the interest of any political party.

Regarding the use of barangay facilities like the barangay gymnasium, Hervias said the user or the political group must seek the approval of the Comelec in using such facilities.

Bautista, last week, said they will run after barangay officials who will join political activities or support a political party.

He said barangay officials must be non-partisan.

"The law is clear on that aspect. They have to follow the law, mainly the Local Government Code. They should be neutral in the way they provide services to their constituents. And they are not supposed to belong to any political party," Bautista said. (LCP)
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