10 commandments in choosing a candidate

“Civil society should tell barangay officials, ‘kami ang boss nyo’,” said Atty. Pearl Garganera-Gauzon, volunteer from Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV).
Thus, she urged residents to use their freewill to vote for the deserving candidates during the barangay elections on October 28.
“If we want our country to progress, we all should help. Indi ta pag-depend sa tawo nga ara sa poder,” she said.
Gauzon said this during the second instalment of the PPCRV and Mission-Pagdihon, Inc. voters’ education activity in Iloilo City’s Gawad Kalinga Villages.
The first activity was last October 20 at the GK Villages at Brgy. San Isidro, Jaro, Iloilo City.
The second was last October 26 at GK Sooc in Arevalo, Iloilo City.

Atty. Pearl Garganera-Gauzon, Aurora Hugo, Rodel Jaca and Gemma Sumague

Gauzon narrated that PPCRV was created during the time of the late former President Ferdinand Marcos because corruption was already rampant then.
Then, the pork barrel scam happened in our time.
Recognizing that corruption is related to the kind of officials that are being elected and that the Commission of Elections (Comelec) needs help, Gauzon said the PPCRV volunteered to help in the campaign to educate people about voting.
Mission-Pagdihon, Inc. also advocates for a change in people’s mindset in order to make the country move forward, thus it partnered with PPCRV in this initiative.
Gauzon stressed that Filipinos need to be educated so that they cannot be controlled by those in power.
“When the Philippines was colonized by the Spaniards, there was favoritism in government. Then, the masses or ‘indios’ were not educated. The Spaniards were scared because when Filipinos are educated, they can’t be controlled,” Gauzon said.
“Then came the American colonizers and they gave us the chance to study. They showed us ‘free choice’ with the passing of the Jones Law in 1936 wherein all can vote,” she said.
“So, by this time, we already know our rights. And no one can threaten us as we exercise our right to democracy,” she added.
Gauzon said that the barangay is the base of the political system of the Philippines.
It is for this reason that she finds holding a voters’ education activity in the barangays, very important.

Marjorie Gadian, KB president

Gauzon shared the 10 commandments in voting for a candidate. They are:
1. Vote according to the dictates of your conscience.
2. Respect the decision of others in choosing their candidates.
3. Seek to know the moral integrity and capability of the candidates.
4. Understand the issues, platforms and programs of the candidates and parties seeking your vote.
5. Though shall not sell your vote.
6. Do not vote for candidates using guns, goons and gold. “Candidates who make threats do not respect our democracy,” Gauzon said.
7. Do not vote for someone with a record of graft and corruption. This means, even if no judgment has yet been made, as long as there is a record, do not vote for that person.
8. Do not vote out of debt of gratitude, popularity and ‘pakikisama’. Do not fear to ask your candidates hard questions.
9. Do not vote for candidates living an immoral life. Some residents cited extra-marital affair as an example. Gauzon added – drunks and those who beat  others.
10. Put the welfare of the country above all. “Ang poder ara sa aton,” Gauzon stressed.

Meanwhile, Gemma Sumague, volunteer of PPCRV and Mission-Pagdihon, Inc. shared some of the duties of the village officials according to the local government code.
“Councilors should support the barangay captain in all aspects or laws that were approved by the Council, with participation of civil society,” Sumague said.
She shared that the punong barangay is very powerful as he/she enjoys three powers of government – executive, legislative and judicial, something that even the Philippine President, senators and congressmen don’t enjoy.
“Under the executive powers, the punong barangay enforces the laws and ordinances. It is easy to make laws but what we need is for someone who will implement them. He/she should maintain public order in the barangay, call and preside one session, organize and lead a group for peace and order, enforce laws on pollution and protection of the environment, exercise general supervision of activities and inspire people to work together,” Sumague said.
“Some of his/her legislative powers are: preside the meeting but he can’t vote unless there is a tie, organize regular lectures on the community’s problems, encourage citizen participation, provide for the proper development and welfare of the children especially those aged seven years old and below, adopt measures to address drug abuse and juvenile delinquency, align projects with the municipal level and implement national laws,” she added.
“His/her judicial power includes: peace officer of the barrio; he can do arrests and detention within the legal limits and participates in settling disputes,” she further said.

GK's Sooc Ventures personnel making recycled bags

Sumague, in an earlier forum, said that if an elected barangay official does not perform, there is still a remedy which the residents can initiate.
“As voters, we call this the ‘local initiative’. We can take action to remove a barangay official from his post,” she said.
Section 69 of the Local Government Code provides that the power of recall for loss of confidence shall be exercised by the registered voters of a local government unit to which the local elective official subject to such recall belongs.
Section 70 states, “recall may be initiated by a preparatory recall assembly or by the registered voters of the local government unit to which the local elective official subject to such recall belongs.  Recall of any elective provincial, city, municipal, or barangay official may also be validly initiated upon petition of at least twenty-five percent (25%) of the total number of registered voters in the local government unit concerned during the election in which the local official sought to be recalled was elected.”
It adds, “A written petition for recall duly signed before the election registrar or his representative, and in the presence of a representative of the petitioner and a representative of the official sought to be recalled, and in a public place in the province, city, municipality, or barangay, as the case may be, shall be filed with the Comelec through its office in the local government unit concerned. The Comelec or its duly authorized representative shall cause the publication of the petition in a public and conspicuous place for a period of not less than ten (10) days nor more than twenty (20) days, for the purpose of verifying the authenticity and genuineness of the petition and the required percentage of voters.”
It further adds, “Upon the lapse of the aforesaid period, the Comelec or its duly authorized representative shall announce the acceptance of candidates to the position and thereafter prepare the list of candidates which shall include the name of the official sought to be recalled.”
Section 71 states, “Upon the filing of a valid resolution or petition for recall with the appropriate local office of the Comelec, the Commission or its duly authorized representative shall set the date of the election on recall, which shall not be later than thirty (30) days after the filing of the resolution or petition for recall in the case of the barangay, city, or municipal officials, and forty-five (45) days in the case of provincial officials. The official or officials sought to be recalled shall automatically be considered as duly registered candidate or candidates to the pertinent positions and, like other candidates, shall be entitled to be voted upon.”

Section 71 states, “The recall of an elective local official shall be effective only upon the election and proclamation of a successor in the person of the candidate receiving the highest number of votes cast during the election on recall. Should the official sought to be recalled receive the highest number of votes, confidence in him is thereby affirmed, and he shall continue in office.”*

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