SENATOR Joseph Victor Ejercito has vowed to push for the passage of the anti-dynasty bill even if the proposed law would directly affect his family and his political allies in the opposition including Vice President Jejomar Binay who is eyeing the presidency in 2016.
Ejercito has relatives in the government including his father former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, his mother Mayor Guia Gomez of San Juan City; half brother Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, first cousins unseated Laguna governor ER Ejercito and Quezon board member Gary Estrada, and niece Councilor Janella Ejercito of San Juan.
Binay, a political ally of the Estradas, also heads a political dynasty. His daughter Nancy is an incumbent senator, her brother Jejomar is the mayor of Makati and her sister Abigail is a lawmaker.
Speaking during the weekly Kapihan sa Senado news forum Thursday, Ejercito expressed belief that it was time for Congress to pass a law banning political dynasties in the country and give other qualified Filipinos a chance to serve the people.
“[The anti-dynasty bill] will be historic, probably it will be the first time that an anti-political dynasty bill will be tackled by congress,” Ejercito noted.
There are three anti-dynasty bills in the Senate, one authored by Ejercito and two others filed by Sen. Miriam Santiago.
Under Ejercito’s proposal, no spouse, or person related within the second degree of consanguinity or affinity, whether legitimate or illegitimate, full or half-blood, to an incumbent elective official seeking re-election shall be allowed to hold or run for any elective office in the same province in the same election.
Relatives of a national official will also be disqualified from running within the same province where the former is a registered voter.
If none of the candidates are related to an incumbent elective official within the second degree of consanguinity or affinity, but they are related to one another within the said prohibited degree, they, including their spouses, shall be disqualified from holding or running for any local elective office within the same province in the same election.
In all cases, no person within the prohibited civil degree of relationship to the incumbent shall immediately succeed to the position of the latter, the bill provides.
But the measure does not cover punong barangays or members of the Sangguniang Barangay.
The Senate committee on electoral reforms and people’s participation headed by Sen. Aquilino Pimentel 3rd has conducted two committee hearings and will come up with a substitute anti-dynasty bill.
In a separate interview, Pimentel said he wanted to accommodate a lot of ideas presented during the hearings in the substitute bill he will formulate.
“Once I come up with this substitute bill the discussion should be on the substitute bill and that they will allow me to bring the hearing to dynasty-controlled areas,” he said.
Senate President Franklin Drilon in a statement expressed his support for the passage of anti-dynasty bill and urged his colleagues in both chambers “to allow a constructive debate over the proposed measure.”
The House of representatives is set to start plenary debates on its version of the bill after Capiz Rep. Fredenil Castro, who chairs the House committee on suffrage and electoral reforms, officially introduced it to the floor last May 6.