• Belmonte: Anti-political dynasty not anti-Binay

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    The anti-political dynasty bill—which prohibits two or more individuals who are related within the second degree of consanguinity from holding or running for a national or local post in successive, simultaneous or overlapping terms—should not alarm Vice President Jejomar Binay and his family.

    Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr. of Quezon City, who would be affected by the measure if it passes into law since his daughter Joy is the vice mayor of Quezon City, made the stance with the anti-political dynasty bill up for plenary debates  next week.

    “When you talk of the Binay family, one thing is important: that the Vice President becomes the President [in 2016]. It does not matter if the other members of his family are in office or not. That is how I look at it,” Belmonte, whose nephew Christopher Belmonte is also a Quezon City representative, pointed out.

    An official’s relatives of the first degree consanguinity includes his or her parents, spouse and children, while the second degree will cover his     or her siblings, grandparents and grandchildren.

    Binay’s two daughters and one son are occupying elective posts. His daughter Nancy is a Senator, while his other daughter Abigail is a Makati representative. His son Junjun is a Mayor of Makati City, a position that the eldest Binay held in 1986 to 1987, 1988 to 1998 and 2001 to 2010.

    “Under this bill, my family would also be affected. If this bill gains ground, I will give up my post and let her stay. This is not about having as many members of your family being elected into office,”  Belmonte added, referring to his daughter.

    The anti-political dynasty bill has been stuck in the sponsorship status in the plenary     since May 6, but Belmonte is optimistic that the House can steer it into passage before the May 2016 Presidential polls.

    Belmonte, the vice chairman of the ruling Liberal Party chaired by President Benigno Aquino 3rd, added that the authors are amicable to relaxing the measure’s provisions by allowing at least two members of the same family to run in the same election.

    “I would not cite any number but I am fine with slightly relaxing the provision so that we can pass it. It is important     that we pass this into law so that future Congresses can improve on it. They can tighten it if they want to,” Belmonte said in closing.

    The Anti-Political Dynasty bill has been pending in Congress for the last 12 years.

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