Rodriguez pursues five-year term for barangay, SK officials

Cagayan de Oro 2nd district Rep. Rufus Rodriguez has filed a bill seeking to lengthen the term of office of barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) officials from the current three years to five years.

Cagayan de Oro 2nd district Rep. Rufus Rodriguez (Facebook)

Rodriguez filed House Bill (HB) No. 7123, which, if enacted, would amend Section 43 of the Local Government Code, under which barangay and SK officials enjoy a tenure of three years and a three consecutive term limit.

The proposed longer stay in office would take effect in the first barangay and SK elections after the enactment of the proposed amendatory law. The Rodriguez bill keeps the consecutive term limit intact.

Rodriguez, chairman of the House Committee on Constitutional Amendments, said the three-year tenure of the officials “is too short a time for the unity and stability in barangay leadership and affairs".

“It is not enough to ensure that the programs of the barangay are carried out properly, especially considering the fact that it cannot be denied that the last year of the term is basically used for campaigning,” he said.

The resident legal luminary in the House said the longer term “would ensure more stability in the barangay level and ensure that the programs initiated by the current leaders would come to fruition.”

Rodriguez noted that less frequent elections would lessen discord among the population.

“It is common knowledge that elections, whether national, local or barangay, prove to be divisive among the populace. Candidates and their supporters try to destroy their opponents by using any means necessary just to be able to secure victory,” he stressed.

He noted that the Commission on Elections (Comelec), which has investigated numerous complaints about alleged irregularities in the last barangay and SK polls five years ago, is just about to come out with its report.

He said the report would indicate “who would be held liable for the late delivery of ballots and elections returns, which caused the delay in the conduct of elections in several polling centers nationwide".

“Also, many election documents were left behind by the shipping companies tapped by the poll body because of packaging delays at the National Printing Office in Quezon City,” the Mindanaoan said.

Such complaints are proof of the divisiveness and problems encountered during elections, he said.