Comelec urged to clarify whether barangay officials can campaign

Comelec urged to clarify whether barangay officials can campaign
File photo shows Romulo Macalintal, a veteran elections lawyer, filing his certificate of candidacy at the Commission on Elections.
Philstar.com / Efigenio Toledo IV

MANILA, Philippines —  Elections lawyer and senatorial bet Romulo Macalintal asked the Commission on Elections to clarify whether barangay officials are allowed to participate in partisan political activities in the upcoming midterm poll.

The veteran elections lawyer asked the Comelec on Monday to issue an official statement to clarify, based on existing laws, if punong barangays, barangay kagawads and elected sangguniang kabataan officials are allowed to campaign for or against any candidate.

Macalintal filed a letter-petition before the poll body Monday.

He raised that while Section 2(4), Article IX-B of the 1987 Constitution provides that “no officer or employee in the civil service shall engage, directly or indirectly, in any electioneering or partisan political campaign,” the provision does not cover elected officials “notwithstanding the fact that the civil service embraces all branches and agencies of the government.”

He also pointed out that electioneering applies only to appointed officials and not elected ones.

“Section 38 of the Omnibus Election Code provides that ‘the barangay election shall be non-partisan’ which means that barangay candidates cannot be nominated by any political party in any barangay election. In other words, it is the ‘barangay election’ that is ‘non-partisan’ and not the barangay officials,” Macalintal added.

“Thus, if the incumbent president and other incumbent elected officials can campaign, then the same applies to these barangay officials as they are also ‘elected officials,’” he added.

The veteran elections lawyer, a senatorial bet under the Otso Diretso slate, said that barangay officials have sought his legal advice on the matter.

Former Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. and election lawyer George Garcia accompanied Macalintal in the filing. — Kristine Joy Patag

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