Robredo to take oath before barangay chair
VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT Leni Robredo may take her oath of office before a Camarines Sur barangay chair even in Metro Manila, according to a lawmaker who drafted the law allowing barangay chairs to swear national officials into office.
Camarines Sur Rep. Salvio Fortuno rejected the argument of Agapito Rosales, a retired Camarines Sur provincial prosecutor, who warned that Robredo’s oath would have “no force and effect” if a barangay chair administered it outside the village official’s jurisdiction.
Robredo, the outgoing representative of Camarines Sur’s third district, earlier announced that she would take her oath of office before Ronaldo Coner, chair of barangay Punta Tarawal in Calabanga town, the “smallest, poorest and farthest” village in her district.
She will be sworn into office on June 30 in a yet undisclosed location in Metro Manila and separately from President-elect Rodrigo Duterte, according to her staff.
Duterte has opted for simple rites at Malacañang for his own inauguration.
“With all due respect, Prosecutor Rosales’ opinion was based mainly on an already superseded old law (Batas Pambansa 868) enacted in 1985,” Fortuno said in a statement.
He was the principal author of Republic Act No. 10755, which amended Executive Order No. 292, or the Administrative Code of 1987, to include punong barangay chairs among the authorities who could swear in public officials, including the President.
The law was signed by President Aquino on March 29.
Fortuno said the amendatory law “intentionally removed the phrase that limited the area or jurisdiction where the [barangay chair] could validly administer the oath of office to give leeway to the choice of the elected public official, especially if he or she is the President of the Philippines.”
He said Rosales based his argument on Batas Pambansa 868, which authorized barangay chairs “to administer the oath of office within the province or city where his barangay is located to elective public officials.”
But the congressman noted that the amendatory law simply states that “the [barangay chair] is authorized to administer the oath of office to any government official, including the President of the Philippines.”
“If the intention is still to limit the area or jurisdiction where the [barangay chair] could administer the oath to public officials, what need is there to amend the law?” he said.
Fortuno also lauded Robredo for her decision to be sworn into office by a barangay chair, making her the “first [second]-highest official of the land ever to take her oath before the lowest elected chief executive, the [village chief].”
“By choosing the [village chief] to administer the oath of office to her, Vice President Robredo recognizes [the importance of barangay chairs] in the delivery of front-line government services to our people even as she avoids the pomp and pageantry of the ceremony,” he said.
“Her simplicity and humility really precede her persona,” he added.
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