House to start plenary debates on anti-political dynasty bill

By Paolo Romero, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jan 20 2014 09:54 AM | Updated as of Jan 20 2014 05:54 PM

MANILA - The House of Representatives is expected to start plenary debates on the proposed Anti-Political Dynasty Bill anytime soon as the measure is scheduled to be reported out to the floor when Congress resumes session today.

House Majority Leader and Mandaluyong City Rep. Neptali Gonzales Jr. said the controversial measure, as well as the committee report on ladderized education, would be presented to lawmakers in plenary.

“Actually, there are many committee reports (bills approved by House committees) but they are either still being circulated for signature or in the appropriations committee for funding,” Gonzales said in a telephone interview in response to criticisms that both the Senate and the House passed very few laws in 2013.

For his part, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said yesterday the House would focus on passing laws and exercising their oversight functions despite the abolition of the lawmakers’ pork barrel funds.

He said the abolition of the Priority Development Assistance Fund would not diminish their determination and commitment to perform their duties.

“The House will continue to function without pork barrel,” Belmonte said.

Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga and Gonzales said the chamber would be more scrutinizing of the performance of agencies in the Executive branch.

“Lawmakers would be more assertive of their power of the purse by pursuing more detailed and transparent hearings on the budget, which we conduct annually,” Barzaga said.

The House committee on suffrage and electoral reforms unanimously approved last year the Anti-Political Dynasty Bill, which seeks to ban the relatives of an incumbent official to the second degree of affinity from running in the same election.

The measure, which is a consolidation of three bills, also bans overlap of relatives’ terms in office and allows the Commission on Elections to hold a raffle to decide who in the clan will be permitted to run in the same election in case none of the candidates in the same family agrees to withdraw.