Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon on Monday called on community leaders to avoid engaging in partisan politics.
Drilon made the call after a supposed letter of a barangay chairman in a village in Bulacan made the rounds in social media. The letter supposedly asked residents of Barangay Pagala in Baliwag, Bulacan whether they would support the candidacy of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte.
“Let us maintain the non-partisan nature of the barangays. Barangays must shun politics at all costs,” said Drilon, an opposition stalwart.
The former justice secretary pointed that under the Omnibus Election Code and Section 93 of the Local Government Code, barangays are prohibited to engage in partisan political activities.
Drilon said that following the Commission on Election (Comelec) and Civil Service Commission (CSC) Joint Circular 001-2016, only the President, Vice President, Members of the Cabinet, other elective officials except barangay officials, members of the AFP reserve corps are excluded from the coverage of the prohibition.
“They cannot campaign or endorse the candidacy of any person. More so, they cannot use the resources of the barangays for political activities. That is a violation of the law,” he said.
Drilon stressed that barangays and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) officials are non-partisan by nature and practice. In fact, during the 2019 elections, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) had asked the COMELEC to look into partisan activities of barangay and SK officials, saying they have committed election offenses.
The DILG has also publicly reminded that barangay officials engaging in partisan political activities are violating the Omnibus Election Code.
Drilon appealed to politicians to stop using the barangays to score “pogi points” in the administration or further their political agenda.
“Huwag na po nating gamitin ang barangays sa pulitika. Huwag nating bigyan ng kulay ang barangay (Please don’t use the barangays for politics. Let’s not give political colors to barangays). Let them remain apolitical,” he said.
The Senate minority leader urged the DILG to investigate the incident in Barangay Pagala in Baliwag Bulacan and ensure that the barangays and its resources are not used for political activities.