The Department of Interior and Local Government has warned barangay officials against endorsing or campaigning for any candidate in the coming elections.
DILG Undersecretary Martin Diño said in an interview the prohibition is clearly stated the Omnibus Election Code and reaffirmed by the Commission on Elections and the Civil Service Commission through various orders.
He said erring barangay officials, if found guilty, face suspension or removal from office. Evidence may include photos or videos of incidents showing barangay officials openly campaigning for candidates.
“Now if you get photographed or videotaped (violating the rule) and cases are filed against you with the civil service or the Comelec, then I’m out of it because the Comelec has the power to suspend or remove (violators) from office. So let’s be clear about it,” Diño said, addressing barangay officials.
He noted that higher national and local officials are exempted from the CSC and Comelec rule against non-partisan activities.
The CSC reminded civil servants not to engage in electioneering to ensure they remain focused on their duties and functions, and their positions insulated from politics. Civil servants may still cast votes, express views, mention the names of preferred candidates, and express their opinions; as long as they don’t use the gesture to solicit support for any candidate or party during the campaign period.
Although it has been made crystal clear, many barangay officials have still allowed themselves to be carried away by their political leanings during the campaign period. Hopefully they understand that being non-partisan during the campaign period is one of the limitations of their position that as public servant, has the primary function of being of service to their constituents instead of loyalty to a person or political party.
The barangay is the most basic unit of government. The country needs its officials to be working for the people instead of candidates and political parties at all times and the campaign period is no exception. If they do not want to be penalized by the Comelec and the CSC, the barangay officials that do not understand can always exercise their freedom to resign from their posts.*