Press Release
September 7, 2016

'With barangay polls scrapped, how do you 'endo' barangay chairmen who are also drug captains?'

Senate Minority Leader Ralph Recto said it would be up to the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and other agencies to "legally prevent" barangay officials who coddle or are in cahoots with drug lords from enjoying a one-year extension in office.

"Those who are not only barangay captains, but at same time are drug captains in their barangay must not have a free pass for another year," Recto said.

But any move to charge barangay leaders for their crimes should be done in a "legal, constitutional, and proper way," he added.

"It must be based on solid, verified evidence, supported by affidavits of witnesses, the side of those charged be heard, and the proper case filed," Recto said.

Recto said the postponement of the October barangay polls would "rob barangay residents of the chance to boot out barangay officials who moonlight as drug traders or whose feeble leadership allowed the proliferation of narcotics in their areas."

Recto said 13,661 out of 42,036 barangays in the country have been tagged by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) as drug-affected. In Metro Manila, the prevalence is higher, with 92 percent of 1,706 barangays penetrated by drug lords according to PDEA.

"Thus, many are saying that the high rate of drug infiltration in our barangays is the argument for--and not against--the scheduled holding of elections next month," Recto said.

"Mas maraming barangay leaders pa rin ang matitino. Mas marami ang nagseserbisyo at nagsasakripisyo. Pero marami ring dapat nang palitan," Recto said

"But instead of being served end of contracts, what they will get is the gift of term extension," Recto said. "Dapat ma-endo na ang mga 'yan. Ang mangyayari ay parang extended pa for one year."

"That's the predicament of the people on the ground. With elections postponed, how can the terms of unpopular, nonperforming barangay leaders be cut short? That is where government should come in," Recto said.

He said there are many discipline mechanisms under the Local Government Code (LGC) and other laws and regulations. "Those provisions must be invoked to provide relief for affected barangay residents."

Section 60 of Republic Act 7160 or the LGC states the various offenses--from disloyalty to the Republic, to absenteeism, to commission of offenses punishable by a minimum jail time of six years and one day--which can be grounds to suspend or remove from office an elective barangay official.

"If barangay residents cannot secure their liberation through the ballot, then government should be the one to free them," Recto said.

Recto said that based on a DBM Local Budget Memorandum, leaders of the country's 41,889 barangays would appropriate and spend more than P96.08 billion in Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) share of barangays for 2017.

The IRA represents the 40 percent share of provinces, cities, towns, and barangays from national taxes collected three years before.

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