Right after the conduct of the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) on October
30, 2023 and immediately after the winning Punong Barangays from the 128 Barangays were administered their oath by City Mayor Benjamin Magalong right in front of City Hall the barangay
chief executives began earnest preparations for the LIGA ng mga Barangay (LnB)- Baguio Chapter elections to choose their representative to the Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP) of Baguio as ex-oficio City Councilor for 2023 up to 2025.

However, although the BSKE was conducted as smooth as butter this was not to be with respect to the LnBBaguio City Chapter elections and, as reported, with most of the LIGA chapters in the
country as well. The first concern that threw a spanner in the works for the LnB-Baguio Chapter
elections came in the form of a guideline in the conduct of the said election issued by the National LIGA of the Philippines on November 15, 2023 with the title, Providing for the Guidelines in the
Conduct of the LIGA ng mga Barangay (LnB) Chapter Elections at the Municipal/CC/ HUC/ICC and Provincial Levels.”

Now there should not have been any problems with respect to the said LIGA election guidelines since its issuance was done as a matter of course considering that the Liga ng mga Barangay National is obviously vested with the authority to issue such pieces of advice on how the election, in its various chapters nationwide, is to be done. It was discovered that in the said LIGA National election guidelines ostensibly with the knowledge and consent of the LIGA National Executive Board (LIGA-NEB) it imposed additional qualifications for the said elections particularly a
condition that if not complied with would prohibit candidates for the LIGA to be voted upon, although allowing them to vote.

In letter ‘c’ of ‘H’ of the said circular its states the following, to wit, “Any Barangay or chapter who failed to regularly pay the annual Liga Dues by the August 31, 2023 deadline prescribed by the National Liga, in the case of Provincial/ HUC/ICC Chapters, or the deadline prescribed by the incumbent Liga President, in the case of Municipal/CC Chapter; Representatives of such barangays or chapters are eligible to vote, upon full payment of their Liga Dues and Annual Subscription to the Liga National Official Publication, at the time of voting.

However, such representatives of barangays of chapters who fall under the above conditions are not
eligible to be voted upon.” (italics supplied for emphasis) Take note that the deadline imposed for those who failed to regularly pay their annual LIGA dues is on August 31, 2023 can still make good on their payments up to the time of voting. In other words, any last minute payment of the LIGA dues by a barangay, even at the time of the voting, who has not regularly paid said dues would entitle its Punong Barangay to vote in the LIGA elections.

But here is where it gets weird, although the Punong Barangay in the abovementioned situation
would be allowed to vote he or she can no longer be voted upon. This means that the said Punong Barangay is barred from running as a candidate in the said elections even if he can still vote. This is the import of the second paragraph that is in italics. That brought out a lot of issues that eventually led to the LnB – Baguio City Chapter elevating the matter particularly on the matter of possible disenfranchisement thru a manifesto cum petition, to the LIGA national and the DILG.

Subsequently we learn that two chapters of the LIGA have filed petitions for declaratory relief with the regular courts which is a legal remedy which according to the Supreme Court, “is an action xxx
filed to secure an authoritative statement of the rights and obligations of the parties under a statute, deed or contract for their guidance in complying with or enforcing its provisions and thus, presupposes that there has been no actual breach of any of these instruments. Acting with dispatch
on one petition for declaratory relief the Regional Trial Court, Branch 34 of Tacloban City in the sala of Jude Avelino Decoroso M. Basco issued a 72-hour Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) against the LnB – NEB directing it to cease and desist from implementing the assailed Memorandum Circular No. 2023-001 as well as another memorandum circular numbered 2023-002 issued by the LnB, until the issue in the said case is resolved.

The second directive in the said order of the court is important since it prevents the national LnB from acts and issuances that will disenfranchise “petitioners and other duly elected Punong
Barangays similarly situated and affected by the assailed memorandum circular and allow the petitioners to file their Certificate of Candidacy and to run for office and be voted upon in the Local Liga Chapter Election”. But that is not all, in December 11, 2023 the same court extended the said TRO to 17 days With that directive of the court the DILG thru Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. issued its own advisory to the effect that during the effectivity of the said TRO the “LnB should allow candidates to run in the LIGA elections despite the barangay’s failure to pay dues by August 31, 2023, provided that the concerned barangay updates its membership dues before the scheduled LIGA elections pursuant to Section 3 of the 2022 Liga ng mga Barangay sa Pilipinas Constitution and By-Laws (LnBCBL)”.

As an afterthought the LnB ng Pilipinas thru is national president Eden Chua-Pineda subsequently issued another memorandum circular on December 12, 2023 basically acknowledging that the
December 15, 2023 LnB Chapter elections should proceed as scheduled. And so after the dust
settled on December 15, 2023 the LnB-Baguio Chapter had chosen there next set of leaders: PB Rocky Aliping of GEFA Barangay as LIGA President and ex-oficio City Councilor, PB Karl Gabaen of Pucsusan Barangay as LIGA Vice President, PB Murphy Maspil of Holy Ghost Proper, as well as LIGA Board Officers PB Caesar Malecdan of Quezon Hill Proper, PB Jefferson Cheng of AZCKO Barangay, PB Levy Orcales of South Central Aurora Hill, PB James Doligas of Brookside Barangay, PB Jeanette Floresca of Camdas Barangay, PB May Gonzales of Aurora Hill Proper Barangay, PB
Jackeline Lomibao of Fort Del Pilar Barangay, and PB Federico Codley of Atok Trail Barangay.
Congratulations to the winners!

Amianan Balita Ngayon