Lawyer: No law prohibiting barangay officials to join election campaign
Election law expert on Friday rebutted the Commission on Elections (Comelec) who warned barangay (village) officials of engaging in partisan political activities or they will face the law.
Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista said “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.”
However, Atty. Romulo Macalintal said there is no law prohibiting an elected barangay official to join an election campaign.
“If incumbent elected barangay officials can run for higher elective positions, say mayor or governor, and campaign while running for said position, there is no rhyme or reason why said elected barangay officials cannot campaign for or against a candidate in the May 9, 2016 elections,” Macalintal said.
He pointed out 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,” such constitutional ban, as held by the Supreme Court “does not cover elected officials notwithstanding the fact that the civil service embraces all branches and agencies of the government.”
Quoting a Supreme Court ruling in the case of Quinto vs Comelec (G.R. 189698), Macalintal explained that elected officials “by the nature of their office, engage in partisan political activities all year round, even outside the campaign period. Political partisanship is the inevitable essence of a political office, elective positions included.”
He added that the laws and regulations implementing such Constitutional ban which prohibit civil service officers and employees from engaging, directly or indirectly, in partisan political activities or any form of electioneering apply only to appointed officials and not to elected officials.
“Since barangay officials are ‘elected officials,’ they are not covered by said constitutional ban to engage in partisan political activities or campaign for the candidates of their choice. While barangay officials, by the nature of their office, are partisans, it is the ‘barangay election’ that is treated by law as ‘non-partisan,'” Macalintal said. RAM
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