A ban on political dynasties can’t be limited to one province or it renders the move useless, an author of the measure warned
House Deputy Minority Leader Neri Colmenares of Bayan Muna party-list argued that the proposed middle ground on the political dynasty law—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—cannot be taken at face value because dynasties are not limited to one province but extend to nearby provinces or the entire region.
The existing proposed anti-dynasty measure provides that only two candidates belonging to the same family within 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 addition, the anti-dynasty measure will cover those affiliated with a certain candidate as a result of illicit affairs and even those children outside of marriage.
“I am open to discussions during the period of interpellation, but not to the point that it will be diluted and ineffective. They have to show us a reasonable basis for that compromise. 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,” Colmenares told reporters.
“You can’t really argue that the influence is confined [to]one province in that case since the provinces are so near each other. In the case of Occidental and Oriental [Negros], it is even on one island. 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,” he said.
Colmenares likened the situation to the sport of boxing wherein boxers are classified based on weight class in the spirit of fair play.
“When you have become too strong for any opponent, you need to be controlled. A heavyweight cannot be pitted against a lightweight. When you belong to a political dynasty, you have all the resources. The dice is always tilted in your favor,” he said.
Last but not the least, Colmenares added, no politician can deny the fact that a political dynasty is prohibited under no less than the Philippine Constitution, which states that the state should guarantee equal access to opportunities for public service and prohibit political dynasties as may be defined by law.
“It’s clear in the Constitution. Political dynasty is bad and we should do something about it. If anybody says otherwise, [he or she]should be willing to go on record and say that the Constitution is wrong,” he said.
The Anti-Political Dynasty bill is still pending at the House of Representatives, five months before the filing of candidacy for the 2016 national elections.