“Democracy is a form of government that substitutes election by the incompetent many for appointment by the corrupt few.”
– George Bernard Shaw, Irish Playwright and co-founder of the London School of Economics
I lived in a gated community for 26 years of my life. My parents and 2 siblings still live in the same subdivision in Las Piñas City. When my family visited the subdivision last week, I learned that they will be electing the members of the 2014 Board of Director sometime in the second week of October 2013.
Pursuant to Paragraph (d), Section 15, RA 9904 the Association By-laws should provide for the “manner of electing and removing the board and the filling of vacancies in the board.” In particular, under Section 18, Rule 4 of the IRR mandates that the By-laws of the HOA shall provide the following:
“(d) The number, qualifications, powers and duties, terms of office, manner of electing and removing the board and the filling of vacancies in the board… [and]
“(m) The time for holding the regular election of directors or trustees and the mode or manner of giving notice thereof.”
The manner of electing the board include the period and manner of nomination of the candidates to the Board and the manner of electing the Board [i.e., by secret ballot or not]. Therefore, everything that is mentioned above should be, at the minimum, included in the By-laws of the HOA.
The absence of any item would lead to the rejection or non-approval of the By-laws by the HLURB for the first time applicants. Of course, each HOA may add to these basic guidelines, as it deems fit and amend its By-laws accordingly.
It should be noted that a member of the Board may serve a minimum term of 1 year unless sooner removed or vacated by reason of resignation, death or incapacity. However, the term of office of the members of the Board shall not exceed 2 years.
With that in mind, the election of members of the Board is the single most important event in the HOA. The quality of life experienced by members and non-members alike and the successful management of the affairs of the community is dependent on the quality of the people elected as Members of the Board.
Hence, the election of members of the Board should always be taken seriously by each homeowner-member in good standing. No one likes to live in a community led by a dictator or a group of tyrants. There have been a lot of horror stories about members of the Board who lord it over the community without regard to neither rhyme nor reason.
Moreover, the election of members of the Board is very contentious and divisive in a community. It is no different from any other election in the Philippines. Numerous cases pending before the HLURB involve election contests between competing factions in the community.
But if there were no election contests, it should be emphasized that within 15 days from the date of any regular or special election, the HOA – through the Election Committee – shall submit the following requirements to the HLURB:
(a) Proof of notice of election;
(b) A copy of the notice sent to the members or posted in conspicuous places stating the time, date and place of the election;
(c) Attendance sheet signed by the members and attested by the Secretary;
(d) Notarized minutes of elections prepared and signed by the committee which supervised the election of the association;
(e) Election returns duly certified by the committee which supervised the election of the association; and
(f) Master list of qualified voters as certified by the association secretary and treasurer.
However, the Implementing Rules are silent on what sanctions will be imposed, if any, should the HOA fail to submit the abovementioned requirements to the Regional Office of the HLURB after the lapse of 15 days. No specific provision governs the penalty to be imposed for the infraction of the above-stated rule.
Be that as it may, we hope that every election for the members of the Board in all HOAs be as stress-free and hassle-free for everyone – the candidates, the homeowner-members and the members of the committee on election, alike. We hope that the service and sacrifice the members of the Board provide is for the betterment of their community.
Concomitantly, the homeowner-members should remain vigilant and alert against any excesses of the board members as well as the drop in the level of service of these volunteers in the community. The homeowner-members should always be engaged and concerned in the affairs of their leaders because it is the responsibility of everyone to keep their community as liveable as possible.