PRRD skips vote on barangay polls

By Argyll Cyrus Geducos

Members of the Boy Scouts of the Philippines were on hand to prepare the precinct where President Duterte was to cast his vote yesterday at the Daniel Aguinaldo High School in Davao City.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte during the ceremonial distribution of the Certificates of Land Ownership Award (CLOAs) to the Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries at the Sultan Kudarat Sports and Cultural Center in the Municipality of Isulan, Sultan Kudarat on April 2, 2018. (ACE MORANDANTE/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN) President Rodrigo Roa Duterte

The wooden armchair now called “the seat of victory” which the then Davao Mayor used in casting his vote during the presidential elections in 2016 was taken out of its glass casing as early as Wednesday (May 9) where it was kept after Duterte became President. But there was no sign of the President until the close of the synchronized Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) polls yesterday.

The President’s trusted lieutenant, Special Assistant to the President (SAP) Christopher "Bong" Go confirmed President Duterte did not cast his vote. When Palace reporters asked why, Go replied: “No reason”

Go, however, cast his vote at the Buhangin Central Elementary School in Davao City Monday afternoon.

The President is opposed to the holding of a barangay election believing it might negate the effects of his ongoing campaign against illegal drugs. He feared drug money might fund the campaign of some candidates.

Last year, Duterte signed Republic Act No. 10952 postponing the synchronized Barangay and SK polls on October 23, 2017, which was then rescheduled to May 14, 2018.

Since assuming the presidency, the local polls have been postponed twice.

Drug list

Prior to the elections, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) bared the names of barangay officials with alleged links to the illegal drug trade.

Malacañang said the list was released to guide voters whom to elect.

In firing the first salvo, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) filed misconduct and dereliction of duty complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman against five Manila City village chiefs over their alleged failure to organize Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Councils (BADACs).

Members of the BADAC are kagawads who chair the barangay committee on women and family, SK chairperson, public school principal, tanod chief or executive officer, representative of a non-government organization, and a representative of a faith-based organization such as from the Ugnayan ng Barangay at mga Simbahan (UBAS).

The DILG issued a memorandum on December 2, 1998 enjoining all barangays to create local anti-drug abuse councils. On July 26, 2001, the DILG directed all barangay captains to create their own ADACs. The implementation of the BADAC was reiterated anew in DILG Memorandum Circular 2015-63 dated June 16, 2015.

"Drug-related incidents have been constantly present in the Philippines which have been the cause of multiple crime incidents," the complaint read. "The Philippine government has been in constant war against illegal drugs. The barangays, as the first line of defense, are mandated to lead the fight against illegal drugs through their programs seeking to reach each and every citizen within their jurisdiction."

"Clearly, aside from being a ground to discipline, suspend or remove as provided under Section 60 of the Local Government Code, non-compliance to the duties provided...warrants the filing of necessary action," the complaint added.