Binay target of Anti-Political Dynasty bill, lawmaker says

Paolo Romero - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - The Anti-Political Dynasty bill being deliberated on by the House of Representatives appears to have been hijacked by some in the Aquino administration to hit Vice President Jejomar Binay and other political opponents, a lawmaker said yesterday.

Parañaque City Rep. Gustavo Tambunting of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), which is headed by Binay, said this appeared to be the case after he grilled authors of the bill during heated plenary debates on the measure on Wednesday night.

He said the Anti-Dynasty bill is being pushed as a measure to give flesh to the provisions of Section 26 of Article 2 of the 1987 Constitution which bans dynasties in the country’s political system.

“At first glance, the measure appears to be worthy and long overdue. However, the current version of the bill, and the deliberations thereon, and the answers of its proponents during the interpellations reveal a possible sinister political motivation for pushing the same,” Tambunting said.

He questioned why the consolidated version of the bill expanded the coverage of the ban on dynasties from the local and provincial level, to the national level.

He said in the original version of the bill filed by Caloocan Rep. Edgar Erice and several party-list congressmen, reference was made to a United Nations Development Program (UNDP) report which stated that political dynasties were centered around local and provincial governments.

Erice, a member of the Liberal Party, has been hitting the Binays, including Makati City Rep. Abigail Binay, on various corruption allegations.

Tambunting said Erice could not give him a categorical answer when he asked why the consolidated version of the bill departed from the reasons cited in the original bill and expanded the coverage to include a ban on national positions.

Erice, he said, also could not answer him why the barangay system was excluded by the ban on dynasties in the proposed bill.

“The only answer Erice could muster was that the barangay system is considered non-partisan. But the reality on the ground is that positions in the barangay are often used to consolidate power by local government officials,” Tambunting said.

The debate heated up when Erice zeroed in on the Binays and openly questioned the election of Sen. Nancy Binay, saying she was elected merely on the strength of her surname, as she did not have any qualifications.

As the exchange got heated, Deputy Speaker Henedina Abad suspended the session to cool tensions on the floor.

When the session resumed after several minutes, OFW party-list Rep. Roy Señeres rose to interpellate Capiz Rep. Fredenil Castro, chairman of the House committee on suffrage and electoral reforms and sponsor of the bill.

Castro said the Anti-Political Dynasty bill will not affect party-list representatives.

If the measure in its present form becomes law, party-list congressmen can still remain in their seats even if their relatives run for other offices.











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