Friday, March 30, 2007

barangay captains

Supposedly for basically civic intents and purposes, the position of barangay captain has been introduced in the country—not without basis from early Philippine history. That is why the holder of the office has its Spanish title of “Capitan del barangay”. Gradually and imperceptibly, the barangay captain began gaining more and more prominence in his or her own barangay territorial coverage.

To date, there are realities that show the importance and influence or a barangay captain. There is the group of barangay tanod around him; and there, too, is a barangay hall. He or she even has a para-judicial role interestingly joined with administrative function. In addition, there are even salaries or stipends, insurances and other progressive features.

All such prerogatives began to gradually but surely enhance the influence and reach of a barangay captain. And while there are scheduled elections for their periodic elections, this exercise is usually overlooked and postponed for one reason of another. While the usual excuse is lack of funds for barangay elections, there are marked indications that the underlying cause is much deeper and possibly even sinister that just money to finance the election process.

As of this writing on the occasion of the forthcoming elections, a good number of barangay captains are rudely but definitely used particularly by incumbent local public officials in the latter’s desire to get re-elected or to win new elective offices. The close and continuous interventions of many barangay captains usually come in form of the following gradual approaches:

First: by expressed and open campaign in favor or their beneficiary local public officials.

Second: by more ardent and insistent endorsement of the same officials as the election day become closer.

Third: by explicit money offers to the voters in the barangay to vote for the same officials. And in the event that there are also money offers from other candidates, then the question becomes a matter of the highest bidder eventually gets the votes of the receptive barangay individuals.

This is not to say this phenomenon takes place all over the country. This is simply meant to bring to the attention of all those concerned that the perceived lowly barangay captains in the country can in fact become powerful purchasing agents of certain local public officials running for re-elections or new elective public offices.

+OVCRUZ, DD
30 March 2007