Anti-dynasty bill now covers nat'l, party-list positions

By RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 01 2011 05:05 PM | Updated as of Jun 02 2011 01:05 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Bayan Muna’s proposed anti-political dynasty bill was sent to a technical working group by the House of Representatives Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms.

House Bill 3413 was discussed today at the committee hearing. The bill seeks to limit to only 1 the number of government positions members of a family can hold at the provincial level.

HB 3413 defines Political Dynasty as “the concentration, consolidation or perpetuation of public office and political power by persons related to one another” and a Political Dynasty Relationship as “a) when a person who is the spouse of an incumbent elective official or a relative within the second civil degree of consanguinity or affinity of an incumbent elective official holds or runs for an elective office simultaneously with the incumbent elective official; and b) when two (2) or more persons who are spouses or are related within the second civil of consanguinity or affinity run simultaneously for elective public office, even if neither is so related to an incumbent elective official.”

After the hearing, the committee included for coverage positions at the national and barangay level.

This despite observations  from Rep. Sergio Apostol that it was “an exercise in futility.” Apostol’s wife was a congressman in the last Congress when he served as presidential legal counsel under the Arroyo administration.

Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño today lauded the Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms for finally tackling House Bill.

In a statement, Casino said: "The Committee made history by finally starting discussions on the measure. The consensus so far is to expand the scope of HB 3413 to cover all elective officials from the President, Vice President, Senators, district and party-list representatives, local government positions from governor down to the barangay level and even the Sangguniang Kabataan. We are looking forward to the technical working group meetings during the break."

Casiño's original bill was limited to banning dynasties in the provincial, city and municipal levels where they are most commonly experienced. He said when the bill was formulated, political dynasties had yet to infiltrate the party-list system.

Article II, Section 26 of the 1987 Constitution expressly provides: “The State shall guarantee equal access to public service and prohibit political dynasty as may be defined by law.”

Bayan Muna started filing its anti-dynasty bill in the 12th Congress (2001) and no anti-dynasty bill has ever passed the Committee level so far.

The group said the Commission on Elections, the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) and the Center for People Empowerment in Governance (CenPEG) expressed full support for the bill.

COMELEC Commissioner Rene Sarmiento suggested the expansion of the coverage to include barangay officials which, he said, are also engaged in political dynasties.

Casiño’s co-authors are fellow Reps. Neri Colmenares (Bayan Muna), Luzviminda Ilagan and Emmi de Jesus (Gabriela Womens Party), Rafael Mariano (Anakpawis), Raymond Palatino (Kabataan) and Antonio Tinio (ACT Teachers).