SC junks move to bar political scions

by Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 09 2013 06:27 PM | Updated as of Jan 10 2013 07:15 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The Supreme Court (SC), in its Tuesday session, junked the motion for reconsideration (MR) filed by taxpayer Louis "Barok" Biraogo on the dismissal of his petition against allowing scions of political dynasties to run for national and local elective posts.

The information was announced by acting SC Public Information Office (PIO) chief Atty. Gleo Guerra but no details were given on the basis for the dismissal of the MR.

In a one-page resolution dated November 13 but released to the media only on Wednesday, the high court first dismissed Biraogo's petition "for failure of the petitioner to show that he is entitled to a "Writ of Mandamus."

The high court said that in the absence of an enabling law passed by Congress, the poll body cannot enforce the constitutional prohibition against political dynasties.

"The constitutional prohibition against political dynasties is a non-self-executing provision, requiring as it does the legislative act of Congress to define what 'political dynasties' are and to prescribe the scope and limits of such prohibition. Without an enabling law, the Comelec cannot enforce the prohibition against political dynasties, hence, mandamus will not lie," the resolution read.

The high court stressed that "mandamus is employed to compel the performance of a ministerial duty."

"Essential, therefore, to its (mandamus) issuance is a clear legal right of petitioner to the thing demanded and an imperative duty on the part of the respondent to perform the act required, which do not obtain in this case," the resolution read.

In his 24-page petition for mandamus, Biraogo urged the high court to order the poll body to enforce the constitutional prohibition.

Biraogo cited Sec. 26, Art. II of the 1987 Constitution which states: "The state shall guarantee equal access to opportunities for public service, and prohibit political dynasties as may be defined by law."

"Whether or not political dynasties are evil per se is no longer debatable from a constitutional perspective. Sec. 26, Art. II of the 1987 Constitution prohibits political dynasties, period... Political dynasties are prohibited by the fundamental law of the land."

"Evidently, the prohibition against political dynasties is the means by which the guarantee of equal access to opportunities for public power is to be fulfilled. The guarantee cannot exist without the prohibition," he said.