MANILA — Congress is likelier to pass a bill penalizing political turncoatism than approve an enabling law to restrict political dynasties, a senator said on Thursday.
Former President and now Senior Deputy Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo proposed that turncoats be "deemed to have forfeited their elective office" if they change their political party a year before or after any national election.
"We should try our best... Mas may pag-asa ang makalusot yan kaysa sa mga, yung mga political dynasty law," Senate Minority Leader Koko Pimentel said.
(It has a higher chance of passing Congress than the anti-political dynasty bill.)
The constitution has an anti-dynasty provision, but this has not been implemented due to the absence of an enabling law.
Meanwhile, political turncoatism is problematic because some election candidates seem to join political parties without knowing what the groups stand for, Pimentel said.
“Pero you know, ang reform kasi, ang pagreporma sa lipunan lalo na sa--gawin na lang natin itong evolution hindi revolution. Evolution, ibig sabihin noon, dahan-dahan kung ano yung kaya natin gawin kunin na natin,” the senator told TeleRadyo.
“So imbis na, let us say anti-political dynasty law na alam na natin na io-oppose ng lahat ng members ng dynasty dyan sa lawmaking body eh pwede nang, mas may pag-asa itong anti-political turncoatism,” he said.
(But social reform must be an evolution, not a revolution--meaning, let's take what we can get in terms of changes, no matter how slow they seem. So instead of going for the anti-political dynasty law that we know many will oppose in the lawmaking body, let's just work on anti-political turncoatism, which is more likely to pass.)
A political analyst, meanwhile, said she had some concerns about the proposed measure.
“Bagamat natutuwa ako at nabuhay na naman yung usapon tungkol dito, binabasa ko nga meron din akong mga hindi sang-ayon. Like halimbawa bakit 1 year lang? Dapat 3 years,” said Professor Jean Franco of the University of the Philippines.
“Dapat 3 years kasi ang electoral cycle 3 years, eh papaano mo naman maano yung loyalty mo kung hindi naman uminit yung upuan mo doon sa partido na yon? Dapat at least 3 years na ka member ng party bago ka tumakbo under that party,” she stressed.
(I am happy that this discussion has been opened again, but there are provisions I disagree with. Like, why 1 year only? It should be 3 years because that's the length of the electoral cycle. How will you show your loyalty if you don't warm your seat at the party? You must be a party member for 3 years before you get to run under them.)
Franco also said the measure should cover all levels of government.
“Parang hindi ba dapat mas maganda kung magsisimula sa grassroots no? Talagang patatagin natin ang political parties, magsimula sa barangay," she said.
(Isn't it better if we start from the grassroots? Let us strengthen political parties and start with the barangay.)
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