Arroyo files bill penalizing political turncoatism

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 03 2022 09:30 PM

MANILA - Former President and now Senior Deputy Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has filed a bill penalizing political turncoatism.

Arroyo's proposed "The Political Party Development Act of 2022" will apply to political parties duly registered with and certified to as such by the Commission on Elections.

It seeks to institutionalize political parties, and prescribes procedures for the registration of these parties before the Comelec.

Political parties are mandated to craft a clear policy agenda and program of governance consistent with party philosophy and ideals, according to the bill.

It defines political turncoatism as the change of political party affiliation by a party member a period of one year before or after any national elections. Any party member may legitimately change party affiliation only on the second year of a three year term, the proposed measure said.

Political turncoatism, however, will not apply in cases of abolition, merger or coalition of political parties where a candidate is a registered member, or in case of expulsion of the elected official in writing from one's political party provided that the cause does not cause political opportunism.

Political Opportunism, under the bill, refers to any act of a party member constituting disloyalty to the party or regular non-adherence to the party's ideological principles, platform and programs.

Political turncoats will be deemed to have forfeited their elective office if they change their political party affiliation one (l) year before and one (1) year after any national elections. 

The bill proposes to impose the following penalties on persons found to have committed this violation:

(a) disqualification from running for any elective position in the next succeeding election immediately following the act of changing political party affiliation;
(b) disqualification from being appointed or from holding any position in any public or government office for three (3) years after the expiration of the current term/office;
(c)disqualification from assuming any executive or administrative position in the new political party; and,
(d) refund of any and all amounts received from one's former political party, plus twenty-five percent (25%) surcharge thereon.

Any citizen of voting age or any candidate, political party, aggrupation or coalition thereof may file with the Commission, upon the filing of the certificate of candidacy and before proclamation, a petition to disqualify a candidate on the ground of political turncoatism as defined in the bill.

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