By Gerome Dalipe IV
Winners of the village and youth council during Monday’s election may assume office following their proclamation and taking their oath of office, the Supreme Court said.
In a notice, the SC emphasized that the winners shall still need to submit their Statement of Contribution and Expenditures (SOCE).
However, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) requested the Department of the Interior Local Government (DILG) to allow at least one one-week transition period for newly elected barangay and SK officials from their predecessors.
Comelec Chairman George Garcia announced the other day that they requested the DILG one-week transition due to some monetary accountabilities.
The Supreme Court, in its decision dated June 27, 2023, upheld its earlier ruling declaring Republic Act (RA) 11935, the law which would have postponed the Barangay and Sangguniang Elections (BSKE) from December 2022 to October 2023, as unconstitutional.
The high court said that RA 11935 violates the due process of law and infringes the constitutional right of the Filipino people to suffrage after having been enacted in “patent grave abuse of discretion.”
Likewise, the SC ruled that the tenure of the sitting barangay and SK officials prior to Monday’s elections may be shortened pursuant to RA 11935.
Hence, the term of office of the incumbent village and youth council officials prior to the October 2023 elections ended on Dec. 31, 2022. Therefore, the sitting barangay and SK officials have been on hold-over capacity.
Pursuant to RA 7166, or the An Act Providing for Synchronized National and Local Elections, all candidates, including those who lost in the elections, are still required to submit their SOCE by Nov. 29.
The winning candidates must secure certification from the Comelec that they submitted the SOCE, including those who withdrew from the elections.
Comelec spokesman John Rex Laudiangco said winning candidates with pending disqualification cases will not be proclaimed. The poll body has filed disqualification cases against 220 barangay and SK election candidates for premature and illegal campaigning.
Comelec also filed disqualification complaints against 27 other candidates for vote buying. The Comelec filed disqualification cases against 60 more BSKE candidates for premature and illegal campaigning.
The Comelec, in a letter to the DILG dated Oct. 25, reminded the election winners that they cannot assume their office until they have filed their SOCE within 30 days after the day of the election, pursuant to Sec. 14 of RA 7166, or the An Act Providing for Synchronized National and Local Elections.