Concom member and political science professor Julio Teehankee said that they voted last week to prohibit turncoatism, which means banning from running for public office the members of a political party who change parties during their term of office.
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Anti-balimbing provision eyed in new charter
Robertzon Ramirez (The Philippine Star) - April 27, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The consultative committee (Concom) drafting a new constitution for President Duterte has agreed in principle to include “revolutionary provisions” that would ban politicians from switching political parties. 

Concom member and political science professor Julio Teehankee said that they voted last week to prohibit turncoatism, which means banning from running for public office the members of a political party who change parties during their term of office.

The anti-turncoatism provision is applicable from president down to city councilor. 

“It is one of the agreed principles that before we can embark on this great, grand project of federalization, among these pre-requisites are political reforms. We are going to devolve great powers in the regions,” Teehankee told a press conference yesterday. 

Under the proposed provision, candidates and political officials would be prohibited from changing parties two years before and two years after an election and prohibit political parties from accepting transferees within the prohibited periods. 

The Concom’s provision said that political parties would face cancellation of registration while violators would lose the post they were elected to, be barred from appointment to any post and from running in the next elections, and return any party funds used during the campaign. 

Aside from institutionalizing and strengthening of political parties, Teehankee said the Concom’s proposed provision also pushes for equal representation of the under-represented groups including the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, among others. 

Teehankee said that members of the political party should also nominate a proportionate number of men and women. 

“We would like to infuse new ideas, new plan in our political system by mandating our political parties to actively recruit from the professionals, from the middle class and the under-represented sectors including the LGBT community,” he said. 

“Another provision that is quite revolutionary in this proposal is that we have mandated that political parties must have the proper and proportionate number of candidates in every election … it should be proportionally women,” he added.

In the provision, Teehankee also emphasized that 50 percent of the members of a political party should be women regardless of their sexual preferences in the case of LGBT members. 

Teehankee said equal representation of members in a political party is something not being practiced under the 1987 Constitution despite the country having two former women presidents. 

He said that the Concom followed the Indonesian political system, which has a very strong electoral administration body in coming up with the anti-turncoatism provision included in the new constitution. 

He said that there will be five “sectoral parties” that will be given seats in the congress, which include representatives from the peasant, labor, indigenous peoples, fisherfolk and farmers. 

The Concom is set to deliberate on the provision and vote with finality on May 2. 

1987 CONSTITUTION CONSULTATIVE COMMITTEE FEDERALISM
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