The proposed Anti-Political Dynasty bill is “problematic” because of its unpopularity among politicians, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said on Friday.
The House of Representatives is seen running out of time in passing the bill in the chamber because of absenteeism of lawmakers.
The proposed Anti-Political Dynasty measure provides that only two candidates belonging to the same family within the second degree of consanguinity or affinity (parents, spouse, children, siblings, grandparents and grandchildren) will be allowed to run for either one national and local position, both national positions or both local positions, in the same elections.
“The Anti-Political Dynasty bill . . . to be very frank . . . is still problematic. We can pass an Anti-Political Dynasty bill in terms of complying with the constitutional provision. If it will be that simple, that can be passed,” Belmonte told reporters.
The Speaker was referring to the Article 2, Section 26, of the Constitution that read, “The State shall guarantee equal access to opportunities for public service and prohibit political dynasties as may be defined by law.”
“But if you want a meaningful one…something that works…it targets people around, not only the popular ones,” Belmonte said.
The family of Vice President Jejomar Binay is arguably the most popular example of a political dynasty.
Aside from the Vice President, his daughters Nancy and Abi, as well as son Erwin, all occupy elective posts.
Nancy is a senator, while Abi is a Makati City congresswoman.
Erwin is the suspended Makati City mayor.
The Estradas also occupy powerful posts.
Former President Joseph Estrada is the Manila mayor, while his sons Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada and Joseph Victor Ejercito are both senators.
Manila Mayor Estrada’s former partner, Guia Gomez, is the San Juan City (Metro Manila) mayor.
Senators Pia and Alan Cayetano are also siblings, while Alan’s wife, Lani, is the Taguig City (Metro Manila) mayor.
Capiz Rep. Frednil Castro, chairman of the House Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms, proposed a middle ground wherein an additional two members of a family will be allowed to run in the same elections in addition to the initial two family members, provided that the other two will seek public office in a province different from the first two.
Castro’s proposal, however, did not sit well with Rep. Neri Colmenares of Bayan Muna party-list who is one of the principal authors of the Anti-Political Dynasty law.
Colmenares, a lawyer, has argued that dynasties are not limited to one province but extend to nearby provinces or regions.
“If one is in Cebu and the other is in Manila, yes, you can say that it is not a dynasty because seas separate these areas, but that is not the case now. Dynasties occur in provinces near each other, like La Union and Pangasinan, or Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental. You can’t really argue that the influence is confined in one province in that case since the provinces are so near each other. In the case of Occidental and Oriental, it is even on one island,” he said in an interview.
“That situation is still a dynasty, and there is no accountability among public officials. You get elected because of the family name you inherited from your parents, name recall and the allies of your dynasty, not because of what you can do,” Colmenares added.