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Lawmaker considers 5-year sentences for SK and barangay officials

Rufus Rodriguez, a representative from Cagayan De Oro City’s 2nd district, is advocating for a bill that would increase the term of office for barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) or youth council officers from three to five years in order to prevent dissension and guarantee stability in the barangays.

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The additional term “would assure more stability in the barangay level and ensure that the policies launched by the current leaders would come to fruition,” said to Rodriguez, who chairs the House Committee on Constitutional Amendments.

Rodriguez’s proposal, House Bill (HB) 7123, seeks to modify Section 43 of the Local Government Code, which stipulates that barangay and SK officials have three-year terms with a three-term maximum.

A victorious barangay or SK official can serve for a maximum of 15 years in a run if he wins elections three times in a row even if the measure increases the tenure from three to five years while maintaining the three consecutive term restriction.

In accordance with HB 7123, the extended term of office will go into effect following the first barangay and SK elections following the passage of the proposed amendatory law.

Rodriguez stated the three-year term “is too short a time for the unity and stability in barangay leadership and affairs” and suggested a longer term.

Especially in light of the fact that the final year of the term is mostly dedicated to campaigning, he said, “it is not enough to ensure that the barangay initiatives are carried out correctly.”

Less frequent elections will minimize unrest among the populace, said Rodriguez, a seasoned lawmaker and former college of law dean and professor.

Elections, whether they are municipal, national, or barangay, are well known for dividing the public. In order to win, candidates and their followers will use every means necessary to eliminate their rivals,” he emphasized.

Additionally, he pointed out that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) has only recently finished its investigation into several complaints regarding suspected anomalies in the most recent barangay and SK elections, which took place five years ago.

“Who would be held culpable for the late delivery of ballots and election returns, which caused the delay in the conduct of elections in many polling stations nationally,” the Comelec report would say.

Due to packaging delays at the National Printing Office (NPO) in Quezon City, the solon noted that numerous electoral documents were also left behind by the shipping businesses contacted by the poll authority.

Such comments, according to Rodriguez, “are evidence of the polarization and issues experienced during elections.”

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