MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine government cannot do anything to bar several members of the Ampatuan clan in Maguindanao from running for elective posts in next year's midterm polls.
In an interview with reporters, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima bared that in spite of the constitutional prohibition on political dynasties, the absence of an enabling law renders government powerless in preventing political dynasties from running in local and national elections.
She stressed that anybody who qualifies to run as a candidate in any public post by meeting all requirements prescribed by law cannot be barred from running in the elections.
"Siyempre, marami sa atin hindi katanggap-tanggap ang ganyang scenario. In the absence of the [enabling] law, there seems to be nothing we can do. Gaya ng sabi ng Comelec (Commission on Elections), nasa electorate na yan kung papayagan [sila tumakbo]," De Lima said.
Relatives of journalists slain in the gruesome Maguindanao massacre on Nov. 23, 2009 expressed fear about the Ampatuans "return to power" with the candidacy of 74 of the latter's kin.
The victims' relatives also feared that their lives may be in danger should the Ampatuans again occupy key posts in Maguindanao.