Lawmakers urged to adopt self-executing political dynasty ban in new charter

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 11 2018 06:30 PM

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MANILA - The committee drafting a new constitution hopes Congress would adopt a self-executing anti-political dynasty provision which its members believe is needed to level the playing field in a federal government.

One of the group's members, political science professor Julio Teehankee, said Sunday that this is part of a "grand bargain" where politicians should give up certain privileges as a federal government gives more powers to local officials. 

"The grand bargain is for them to agree to give part of their political privileges as they exist right now to the people, in order to make this shift to federalism work. I think this is a call for their patriotic sense to give part of their privileges," he told ANC.

The committee formed by President Rodrigo Duterte agreed last Wednesday that spouses and relatives up to the second civil degree of incumbent elective officials should be banned from succeeding them or simultaneously running for public office.

Political science professor Edmund Tayao, another committee member, said lawmakers must recognize that a strict anti-political dynasty is part of a "systemic redesign" to strengthen government institutions. 

"You can't just give more powers in the House of Representatives and more powers to the regional to the local levels without this particular trade-off or exchange. This part of the while systemic redesign," he told ANC. 

A formal vote on this anti-political dynasty provision will be done on Monday. President Duterte is expected to endorse the committee’s draft constitution to Congress, which will decide whether to accept its proposals. 

The 1987 constitution already mandates Congress to pass an anti-political dynasty law to prevent the consolidation of powers among powerful clans. But lawmakers, most of whom are dynasty members, have failed to do so in over three decades. 

A study made by Ateneo School of Government dean Ronald Mendoza shows "fat political dynasties" or families with members simultaneously holding government positions are strong indicators of poverty and underdevelopment.

The study also found troubling patterns that show an increase in dynastic shares or the number of powerful clans among district representatives, governors, and mayors -- local officials that will have more powers under a federal government.