A barangay chairman of Grace Park, Caloocan City has called on presidents of Liga ng Mga Barangay (Liga) in all cities and provinces to be discerning come January 14 when they elect the national officers of their association that counts 42,000 barangays nationwide.


Jerrboy Mauricio, of Barangay. 68, Zone 6, Distict II, told mediamen how Ricojudge “RJ” Echiverri, incumbent national Liga president and son of Caloocan Mayor Enrico Echiverri, cheated his way to be elected Liga chapter president in the city. (Only chapter presidents are eligible to vote and be voted upon in the election of national officers.)


In a 16-page complaint lodged before the Office of the Ombudsman, Mauricio detailed how the young Echiverri wilfully violated the Liga Constitution and By-Laws and a Memorandum Circular of the Department Interior and Local Government that mandates the holding of a synchronized Liga chapter elections in all cities and municipalities on Dec. 7, 2010.


“While all Liga chapters all over the country held their elections last Dec. 7, it was only in Caloocan where the elections was held on Dec. 5, or two days earlier.  It was an illegal election, pure and simple,” Mauricio said.


The moro-moro election in the city, according to Mauricio, was purportedly based on a Caloocan City Liga chapter Resolution, headed by RJ Echiverri, asking permission from the National Liga Board, (of which Echiverri is also the concurrent president)  to hold an advance election on flimsy reasons that are until now unknown to them.


The controversial resolution was read and made known only to  delegates a few minutes before the holding of the ‘illegal’ election last Dec. 5. "We tried to get a copy of the resolution and the minutes of the farce elections but no one at the Liga headquarters ( whose office was moved from Pasig to the Caloocan City Hall in 2008) wants to give us a copy,” Mauricio said.


The timing of the advanced election is suspect because a day earlier (Dec.4), all the barangay captains in the city were brought to the Kabayan Resort in Laiya, San Juan, Batangas, which reports say is owned by Mayor Echiverri, for an overnight of food, drinks, entertainment and accommodation.


To prove his case, Mauricio submitted several photographs of the overnight treat in Batangas including a photo of RJ Echiverri and his complete line-up of Liga chapter officers raising their hands in an apparent advance victory celebration.


Mauricio is asking the Ombudsman to immediately suspend Echiverri for cheating, vote-buying, grave misconduct in office and violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practice Act (R.A. 3019).


Also indicted in the Ombudsman complaint were: Jay Timbreza, DILG-Caloocan city director; Comelec representative Atty Dinah Valencia; and NGO representative Teresita Sagum,all members of the Board of Election Supervisor (BES).  Mauricio said the three conspired in a premeditated-manipulation of the Dec. 5 elections.

The three, conspired with RJ Echiverri, in preventing him to file his certificate of candidacy and participate in a secret-balloting election that was required under the Liga Election Code. His simple request of putting his standing objection to the moro-moro proceedings was completely disregarded by DILG director Timbreza, who acted as chairman of the BES.


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