MANILA — The committee drafting a new federal constitution agreed Wednesday on a strict anti-political dynasty provision in a move expected to face strong opposition from Congress.
Spouses and relatives up to the second civil degree of incumbent elective officials will be banned from succeeding them or simultaneously running for public office, the committee agreed in principle.
Formal vote on this self-executing anti-political dynasty provision will be done on Monday, but questions remain on whether this could hurdle Congress, which is dominated by members from these families.
“Well, they better accept it if they want a new constitution. I think our people will be sorely disappointed if they still reject it,” con-com member Fr. Ranhilio Aquino told ABS-CBN News.
President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to endorse the committee’s draft constitution to Congress, which will decide whether to accept its proposals.
The 1987 constitution prohibits political dynasties as a state policy, but left it to Congress to enact an enabling law against them, a task legislators have ignored in the last three decades.
The proposal prohibits an incumbent elective official’s spouse and relatives within the second degree of consanguinity or affinity “from succeeding or replacing (him) or from running for or holding any elective local office simultaneously.”
If the incumbent official holds a national elective position, the same relatives are barred from running for any national office or as “mayor, governor or district representative anywhere in the country.”
“This is the acceptable version that the committee considered instead of going full scale to the fourth degree (of consanguinity and affinity),” said political science professor Edmund Tayao, a member of the committee.
“We can’t be limiting considering that we are also introducing other reforms that will ultimately lead to the dilution of a personality-centered type of politics as we have already seen before.”
A problem may arise if sibling rivals run for the same position at the national level.
But the issue remained unresolved because the committee had not settled whether senators would be voted nationally or per region, said political science professor Julio Teehankee, who chairs the sub-committee on “leveling the playing field.”
The committee also tackled complicated instances like when a candidate is the illegitimate child of an incumbent elective official.
One proposal, said Teehankee, was to include the son or daughter in the ban if the child is recognized by the sitting official.
“If we are going to reboot the system, it is important for all players in the game to begin at the same starting line,” he said. “That’s the reason we need to regulate dynasties at the local level.”