By: Izobelle T. Pulgo, Michelle Joy L. Padayhag March 23,2017 - 10:45 PM
A Cebu City resident casts her vote during the 2013 barangay elections. This year, the barangay elections might be postponed again, and there are reports of a plan of President Duterte appointing officials instead. cdn file photo

A Cebu City resident casts her vote during the 2013 barangay elections. This year, the barangay elections might be postponed again, and there are reports of a plan of President Duterte appointing officials instead.
cdn file photo

Judge Paredes: It’s a slide to dictatorship

Retired Judge Meinrado Paredes called President Rodrigo Duterte’s plan to appoint barangay officials instead of electing them as a slide down to dictatorship.

“Kaning election and appointment, this is democracy vs. dictatorship (The election and appointment issue, this is democracy vs. dictatorship),” Paredes said.

He said that the appointment of officials instead of holding an election where the voice of the people could be represented is a slide down to dictatorship.

He said that there is nothing under the law that allows Duterte to appoint an official in lieu of holding an election.

“There is no direct provision of law,” he said. “Ang balaod niingon nga election. Wala’y balaod nga sige, Presidente ang mutudlo (The law states the holding of an election. There’s no provision of law that states that all right, the President can appoint the barangay officials),” Paredes said.

He stated the disadvantages of appointing the barangay officials instead of choosing them in an election.

“Unya hallmark sa dictatorship kanang mukuan ka, mutudlo ka og opisyales bisan og dili kabubut-on sa katawhan. Mu-slide down ta sa dictatorship. Kanang appointment or pagtudlo, mao na siya’y hallmark, mao na siya ang timailhan nga diktadorya na (The hallmark of a dictatorship is when you appoint officials even if it is the will of the people. We will slide down into a dictatorship. Appointing officials is the hallmark of a dictatorship),” he said.

“In other words, kung ikaw ang mu-appoint sa mga officials bisan pa from the lowest level, beholden g’yud ng imong gitudlo. Unsa’y mahitabo? Ma-control niya ang lowest level sa government throughout sa Philippines. The power also of removing them, naa pud sa Presidente. Mao na, muluhod g’yud na ang mga local officials kay beholden man na sila sa appointing power (In other words, if you appoint officials even at the lowest level, these appointed officials would be beholden to the one who appointed them. So what will happen? He can control the lowest level of the government throughout the Philippines. Aside from that, the power to remove those officials will be on the President. That is why these appointed officials would obey the order of the President because they are beholden to him),” Paredes said.

He said that under the law, the President only has “direct supervision” over the local officials and does not exercise control over the local government.

“Imagine-a kung siya ang mu-appoint sa tibuok Pilipinas or di ba, since wa man sad na siya kaila tagsa-tagsa, ang iyang tawo ang mupili. Unsa na man lang ang tingog sa katawhan? Unsa na man lang? Bisag kanang mga wala mi-deserve to be appointed, tungod lang kay kuan sila, musipsip g’yud na sila sa administration (Can you imagine if he is the one who would appoint the officials in the whole country or since he does not know personally each one, his people would be the one to choose the appointee? What will happen to the voice of the people? There’s a possibility that even those who would not deserve to hold the position would be the appointed official),” he said.

Philip Zafra, president of the Association of Barangay Councils in Cebu City, also said that he would prefer to have a barangay election instead of being replaced by barangay appointees.

“I still prefer election because I believe that people are wise to choose leaders,” Zafra, who is Barangay Tisa captain, told Cebu Daily News.

He also said that he understood the President’s reason to consider postponing the elections, but appointing people had no legal basis and this process would be prone to abuse.

Suspended Cebu City Councilor Jerry Guardo also said that there should be an election.

“We have due process, it should be elected. For me, it is better to have an election rather than appointment,” he said in Cebuano.

Daanbantayan Mayor Vicente Loot, for his part, said that he submits to the wisdom of Duterte whether he would postpone the barangay election or not.

“Barring constitutional impediments, then we cannot question the wisdom of the President,” he said.

“I am okay, okay ko ana, wa ko’y problem. I don’t think may problema dihang dapita kay sa barangay, magkaila man tanan. Kung kinsa man ang i-appoint diha, mailhan man gihapon sa tanan. For me, wa gyud ta makita nga problema anha dapita unless kung may problem sa balaod,” he said.

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TAGS: APPOINT, brgy, dictatorship, Digong’s, election, Exec’s, judge, Paredes, plan

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