Senate to start debates on anti-political dynasty bill

by Marvin Sy, The Philippine Star

Posted at May 25 2014 11:21 AM | Updated as of May 25 2014 07:21 PM

MANILA - The Senate is on its way to starting debates on the anti-political dynasty bill, a measure that enjoys the support of several senators.

Senator Aquilino Pimentel III, chairman of the committee on electoral reforms and people’s participation, said that he would hold one more hearing on the bill before drafting a new version that would consolidate the three bills filed related to political dynasties.

“It’s about time to report out an anti-political dynasty bill for plenary discussion, but a lot of ideas came out during the committee hearings, which I want to be accommodated in the bill to be reported out,” Pimentel said.

Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago filed two bills on political dynasties, while Senator JV Ejercito filed the third.

Senate President Franklin Drilon aired his support for the anti-political dynasty bill, saying that it is long overdue.

He also encouraged the members of both the Senate and the House of Representatives “to give the bill a chance” and engage in constructive debates on the measure once it reaches the plenary.

The House of Representatives is now in the process of tackling its version of the bill in plenary, the first time this was done in 27 years.

“I believe the anti-political dynasty law will significantly change the political system in the country. We have already done it with the pork barrel. The Senate heard and acted on the people’s clamor to abolish the pork barrel and we shall do it again,” Drilon said.

Drilon also stressed that the prevailing conditions in the country make it “ripe for the government to institute a law that has been demanded by the Constitution from the very start of the Fifth Republic.”

“Personally, I am supporting the anti-political dynasty bill. I have no family members – not a mother, father or a sibling – in Philippine politics, not even in the barangay level,” he added.

Ejercito, for his part, said that he believes that individuals who do not enjoy a political pedigree but have an honest intention to serve the people well should be given a chance to do this.

He noted that a lot of these people were not given a chance because they were not from prominent political families.

Several senators also previously aired their support for the bill, including Juan Edgardo Angara, Paolo Benigno Aquino IV and Francis Escudero.