The congressmen, all members of the House committee on constitutional amendments, raised their strong objection to the suggestion during the first hearing on the proposals submitted by the inter-agency task force on federalism and constitutional reform led by the Department of the Interior and Local Government.
Michael Varcas
Lawmakers reject proposed anti-dynasty provision in Cha-cha
Edu Punay (The Philippine Star) - January 29, 2020 - 12:00am

Manila, Philippines — Lawmakers yesterday rejected a proposal of the executive branch to include the ban on political dynasties in the proposed amendments to the 1987 Constitution.

The congressmen, all members of the House committee on constitutional amendments, raised their strong objection to the suggestion during the first hearing on the proposals submitted by the inter-agency task force on federalism and constitutional reform led by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

Panel vice chair and Isabela Rep. Antonio Albano, deputy speaker and Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel and North Cotabato Rep. Jose Tejada warned of repercussions in pursuing the proposal to ban spouses or relatives with second-degree consanguinity of incumbent officials from running in the election for the same position in the immediate succeeding election.

Albano branded it as anti-democratic as he argued that families in politics are elected under a democratic process.

“In a democracy, it is an inherent right of a person – be it relative of incumbent official or not – to run for public office. If you bar a certain person from running that is unfair and anti-democratic,” he stressed.

He further argued that families of politicians perceived to be political dynasties were duly elected by voters. His brother Rodito is the incumbent governor of Isabela province.

“Even if you’re a family serving for decades, if you don’t perform right you will lose in the election. We saw those in power that were ejected by the people,” he pointed out, citing the local elections last year as an example.

The lawmaker believed that the term “political dynasty” should only apply to appointed positions and monarchy – a position that he shares with Pimentel and Tejada.

“We are curtailing already the right of the ordinary citizen to vote. It’s the right of the people to vote, to put in place who would be their congressman, their governor,” Pimentel said.

Tejada, for his part, asked the panel to defer finalizing the anti-political dynasty provision as it is “a very contentious and very controversial issue.”

During the hearing, panel chair and Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez said DILG officials would appear in the Lower House on Feb. 4 to brief lawmakers on their proposals, which were a result of months of dialogue in 62 provinces.

“We will ask them to explain their proposals. For the meantime, we will defer the submission of our committee report for signature of the Speaker so we can incorporate these proposals from the task force of DILG,” he explained.

Apart from the anti-political dynasty provision, the task force has also proposed the inclusion of an “anti-turncoatism” provision in the proposed amendments and the amendment of the constitutional provision on Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) of the local government units (LGUs) to follow the Supreme Court decision that expanded its coverage and included government’s collections from customs duties.

It also proposed the creation of the Regional Development Authority to replace the Regional Development Council “to establish effective regional governance mechanisms that empower both elective officials and managers and career officers of national government agencies at the regional level.”

While the House panel proposed only nine regions and the election of 27 senators by region, the task force is pushing for the creation of 17 regions with two senators per region or a total of 34 senators.

The task force also supported the proposal for election of the president and vice president as one ticket to ensure a united leadership in the executive branch.

It likewise agreed with proposals to change the term of office of House members, local officials and senators to five years but with only one reelection – unlike the proposal of the House panel of two reelections.

The task force also proposed the removal of restrictions on foreign ownership of land and businesses, including mass media, public utilities and schools.   

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