Appointment of a losing barangay candidate

Sometime after the recent Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections, I received an exactly the same question from several persons on different dates.

Some asked out of mere curiosity, while others asked only to confirm if the answer they already had in mind was right.

Simple yet of great importance, their question in general has something to do with the appointment of a candidate who lost in a barangay election.

In particular, they asked me if a candidate who lost in a barangay election can be appointed to any office in the barangay even before the lapse of one year from the date of such election.

Some say they cannot be appointed, because of the one-year ban on appointments of losing candidates to any office in the government, while others say they can.

But who is correct?

Those who said they can be appointed even before the lapse of one year from the date of the barangay election are correct.

The reason for this is simple.

The law removed those who lost in a barangay election from the coverage of the one-year ban on appointments of losing candidates to any office in the government.

[References: Section 6, Article IX-B of the 1987 Constitution, Section 94 (b) of the Local Government Code of the Philippines, Section 4, Rule XIII, Omnibus Rules on Appointment and Other Personnel Actions (CSC Memorandum Circular No. 40, s. 1998, as amended), Department of The Interior and Local Government (DILG) Legal Opinion No. 27, S. 2015 (dated July 13, 2015), DILG Opinion No. 3, S. 2017 (dated January 23, 2017, Civil Service Commission (CSC) Resolution No. 02-0012 (dated January 3, 2002), and People of the Philippines vs. The Sandiganbayan (Fourth Division) and Alejandro A. Villapando, G.R. No. 164185, July 23, 2008]

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Do you still need to file your SOCE if you had ZERO election contribution and/or expenditure?

Let us say you were a candidate in the recent Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections.

Because of your overwhelming popularity, you won without spending anything.

You even refused all forms of donations coming from others.

In other words, you had no election contribution and expenditure.

Does it follow then that you no longer need to file your Statement of Contributions and Expenditures (SOCE)?

The answer is NO.

Even if you had no election contribution or expenditure, or both, you still have to file your SOCE, which, of course, must reflect such fact.

Remember that what is only essential is you filed your Certificate of Candidacy (COC) within the given period.

This only means then that as long as you filed your COC, you have to file your SOCE.

[References: Section 14 of Republic Act No. 7166, COMELEC Resolution No. 10209 (Promulgated on September 27, 2017), Juanito C. Pilar vs. COMELEC, G.R. No. 115245, July 11, 1995, and comelec.gov.ph]

Why Barangay and SK candidates need to file their SOCEs

Image source: comelec.gov.ph

If you were one of the candidates in the recent Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections, you need to file your SOCE.

By SOCE, I am of course referring to the Statement of Contributions and Expenditures.

But remember that the obligation to file SOCE is not only for those who won, but it is also for those who lost, got disqualified, and even those who withdrew their candidacies.

Because what is only essential is you filed your Certificate of Candidacy (COC) within the given period.

In other words, as long as you filed your COC, you have to file your SOCE.

When to file it

By law, you need to file your SOCE within 30 days from the day of the election.

Since the recent elections took place on May 14, 2018, you have until June 13, 2018 within which to file it.

Once filed, you will receive a Certificate of Compliance.

Why you need to file it

Bear in mind that if you won, you will only be allowed to assume your office after you filed your SOCE.

Remember too that if you are guilty of repeated failure to file SOCE, you will be subject to perpetual disqualification to hold public office.

By repeated failure to file SOCE, it means you have failed to file it for two or more number of times.

While perpetual disqualification to hold public office means you will no longer be allowed to hold public office for good.

[References: Section 14 of Republic Act No. 7166, COMELEC Resolution No. 10209 (Promulgated on September 27, 2017), Joel T. Maturan vs. COMELEC and Allan Patiño, G.R. No. 227155, March 28, 2017, and comelec.gov.ph]

Three voting age groups in the 2018 Barangay and SK elections

2018 Barangay and SK elections

On Monday, May 14, 2018, voters from all over the country will go to the polling centers to cast their votes for the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections.

This is the first time both elections will take place during the term of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.

This is also the first after Congress postponed them several times.

The last time we had a Barangay election was in 2013, while the last for the SK election was in 2010.

Three voting age groups

There are a lot of things you need to know about the Barangay and SK elections, especially beginning this year.

Among them is the number of voting age groups involved.

In particular, there are three voting age groups in the Barangay and SK elections.

And these are:

(1) 15 to 17 years old;

(2) 18 to 30 years old; and,

(3) 31 years old and up.

15 to 17 years old

Those aged 15-17 will vote exclusively for the SK election.

As such, they will only have one ballot.

And that is the SK ballot.

18 to 30 years old

While those aged 18-30 will vote for both the Barangay and SK elections.

This means then that they will use two ballots.

And these are of course the Barangay ballot and the SK ballot.

31 years old and up

For those aged 31 and up, they will vote exclusively for the Barangay election.

It follows then that they will only have one ballot.

And that is the Barangay ballot.

Registered voter

But remember that even if you belong to these three age groups, you will only be allowed to cast your vote if you are a registered voter.

Some notable changes in SK elections

Image source: Unknown

After several postponements, the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) election will finally push through on May 14, 2018.

It will take place simultaneously with the Barangay election, which was also postponed several times.

While there seems to be nothing new about the Barangay election, there are some notable changes when it comes to the SK election.

Age of SK voters

For instance, the voting age in an SK election before was from 15 to 21 years old.

Back then, you were entitled to vote for an SK official only if you belong to this age group.

But this is no longer true today.

Why?

Because it was changed to 15 to 30 years old.

This means even if you are already aged 22 to 30, you are now also entitled to vote for an SK official.

Age of SK candidates

Another notable change is of course in the age of those who wish to run for and hold SK positions.

To be a candidate in an SK election before, you need to be aged 15 to 21.

But this is no longer true today as well.

Why?

Because it was changed to 18 to 24 years old.

This means you are now qualified to run for and hold an SK position only if you belong to this age group.

It follows then that you are disqualified if you are either aged 15 to 17 or aged 25 to 30.

Anti-Political Dynasty Qualification in SK elections

One other notable change is the new Anti-Political Dynasty Qualification for candidates in an SK election.

In particular, one of the qualifications you need to meet now if you are an SK candidate is that you must not be related within the second civil degree of consanguinity or affinity to any incumbent elected national official, or to any incumbent elected regional, provincial, city, municipal, or barangay official, in the locality where you seek to be elected.

No such qualification ever existed before. In fact, this is the first of its kind in the country.

[References: Republic Act No. 10742, otherwise known as the “Sangguniang Kabataan Reform Act of 2015,” The Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of Republic Act No. 10742, otherwise known as the “Sangguniang Kabataan Reform Act of 2015,” Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) – Memorandum Circular No. 2017 – 132 dated September 29, 2017 (Subject: Training Managers’ Orientation For All Provincial, City and Municipal Youth Development Officers On The Sangguniang Kabataan Mandatory Training), Sections 329, 423 – 439 of the Local Government Code of the Philippines, Section 10(O) of Republic Act No. 8044, otherwise known as “Youth In Nation-Building Act,” Sections 1 and 2 of Republic Act No. 9340, entitled “An Act Amending Republic Act No. 9164], Resetting the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections, and for Other Purposes.”]

Do you need to be 18 years old on the day of registration for the COMELEC to allow you to register as a voter for the election on May 9, 2016?

If you are a Filipino citizen aged 18, and you have all the qualifications and none of the disqualifications provided by law for a voter, you are already qualified to vote in the election on May 9, 2016.

But you need to bear in mind that even if you are already qualified to vote, it does not necessarily follow that you can already vote on the day of the election.

Why? Because you need to register first as a voter at the Office of the Election Officer of the city or municipality where you reside.

Now assuming you are already qualified to vote and you want to register as a voter for the election on May 9, 2016, the question is when should you register?

For this election, you may register from May 6, 2014 to October 31, 2015.

But do you need to be 18 years old on the day of registration for the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) to allow you to register as a voter, assuming you have all the other qualifications and none of the disqualifications?

The answer is a resounding “No.”

Why? Because our law is clear in that you only need to possess the required voting age on the day of the election.

This means that even if you are still below 18 on the day of registration, but if, on the day of the election, you are already aged 18, you may register as a voter.

But the COMELEC in a resolution clarified that for the election on May 9, 2016, those who are still below 18 on the day of registration, but will turn 18 on or before the day of the election, may start registering only on May 9, 2015.

[References: RA 8189 (The Voter’s Registration Act of 1996) and COMELEC Resolution No. 9853 (Rules and Regulations on the Resumption of the System of Continuing Registration of Voters, Validation and Updating of Registration Records for the May 9, 2016 Synchronized National, Local and ARMM Regional Elections and Other Registration Policies)]

Simple tips on how to vote in an automated election

Perhaps, by now, you already know who to vote. And the only thing left for you to do is to go to the polling precincts and cast your vote.

Aside from knowing who to vote, knowing how to vote, especially now that we are already in an automated election, is also of equal importance. And this is to avoid spoiling your vote.

Before going to the polling precincts, prepare a list of who to vote. This will not only make voting quick and easy for you, but it will also prevent you from over-voting.

By the time you are in the polling precincts to vote, make sure that your hands are clean to avoid staining the ballot.

When you stain the ballot, you run the risk of wasting your vote, because it may or may not be counted.

Once you have the ballot, proceed to the designated voting area and begin voting.

When voting, refer to your list and shade the ovals corresponding to the designated numbers and names of your candidates and party-list group appearing in the ballot.

Avoid over-voting! Over-voting happens when you choose more than the required number of candidates in a particular position.

For instance, you over-vote if you choose more than one candidate for the position of mayor. The same holds true for the positions of vice-mayor, congressman, and party-list group.

And this is because only one candidate is required to be voted for these positions and only one party-list group is required to be selected.

When you over-vote, you simply waste your vote, because it will not be counted.

Once you are done voting, feed the ballot into the PCOS machine and wait for the words Congratulations, your vote has been registered to appear on the PCOS machine screen.

[Author’s Note: This was first posted on the Internet on May 13, 2013]