The next Philippine president may now choose to take his or her oath of office before a punong barangay (barangay head) as stated under a new law, instead of following the well-established tradition of being sworn in by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
Republic Act No. 10755 authorizes the punong barangay to administer the oath of office of any public official including the President of the Philippines, amending Section 41 of Executive Order No. 292 or the Administrative Code of 1987.
RA 10755 amends the Administrative Code to read: “The following officers have general authority to administer oaths: President; Vice President; Members and Secretaries of both Houses of Congress; Members of the Judiciary; Secretaries of Departments; provincial governors and lieutenant-governors; city mayors; municipal mayors; bureau directors; regional directors; clerks of courts; registrars of deeds; other civilian officers in the public service of the government of the Philippines whose appointments are vested in the President and are subject to confirmation by the Commission on Appointments; all other constitutional officers; and notaries public.
“The punong barangay is authorized to administer the oath of office of any government official including the President of the Philippines.”
When President Benigno Aquino III broached in 2010 the possibility of taking his oath of office before a punong barangay, several legal experts pointed out that such public officials have no power to administer the oath except in matters relating to all proceedings in the implementation of the Katarungang Pambarangay.
The new law now gives public officials the freedom of choice on who among the authorized officials would administer one's oath of office and recognizes the indispensable role played by the punong barangay in the country’s political structure.