After 12 years, the House of Representatives has finally tackled the anti-political dynasty bill.
Rep. Frednil Castro of Capiz made an unprecedented sponsorship speech on House Bill 3587 which seeks to ban the relatives of incumbent officials up to second degree of consanguinity from running in national or local posts.
The measure authored by Reps. Castro, Neri Colmenares of Bayan Muna, Antonio Tinio of Alliance of Concerned Teachers party-list and Edgar Erice of Caloocan City prohibits two or more individuals who are related within the second degree of consanguinity or affinity from holding office or running for a national or local post in successive, simultaneous or overlapping terms.
Under the bill, an official’s spouse and children, parents and siblings will not be allowed to seek any elective position while their kin is in office.
“This bill will give equal access to public service which are [currently]occupied by political dynasties,” Castro, a member of the ruling Liberal Party chaired by President Benigno Aquino 3rd, said in his speech.
While most of Filipino politicians belong to a political dynasty, this measure will definitely hit the clan of Vice President Jejomar Binay who has announced to run for president in 2016.
Binay’s daughters are in Congress. Nancy is a Senator, while lawyer Abigail is a Makati Representative. Binay’s son, Junjun, is the Mayor of Makati City.
Earlier in the day, Reps. Rufus Rodriguez of Cagayan de Oro and Ashley Acedillo of Magdalo party-list stressed that there can be no further compromise on the pending Anti-Dynasty law.
“I think there is a chance [that this will be passed by the House]even if it is wide ranging. Historically, the dynasties have become stumbling blocks in the economic development of the constituency. There is no check and balance anymore since only one family is in control,” Rodriguez pointed out.
“For me, the measure should go up to until fourth degree [of consanguinity]so that uncles and aunties, as well as cousins, will be covered,” he added.
Acedillo, a neophyte legislator and a former Marine captain, agreed with Rodriguez.
“I share the optimism of Congressman Rodriguez. There is no middle ground here, if Congress really wants to bequeath a legacy. Under a dynasty, the dominant family will always exert efforts to contravene the pursuit of development of families outside their clan,” Acedillo said.
“If there is a middle ground, it (the bill) could be watered down and in effect you will only propagate, instead of dismantle, the dynasty. The Constitution clearly states that political dynasty is prohibited,” he added.
The House Suffrage and Electoral Reforms approved the measure in November 2013. However, it has never been lined up for plenary debates until May 6, 2014.