By Camille A. Aguinaldo
SENATOR FRANKLIN M. Drilon yesterday raised the possibility of inserting an anti-political dynasty provision in the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).
At the resumption of the Senate hearing on the BBL, Mr. Drilon said that the anti-political dynasty provision is among the many clauses in the 1987 Constitution that was delegated to Congress for enactment into law.
“One of the difficult issues in which the constitutional commission left to Congress is the matter of the anti-dynasty setup… It is alleged that the failure to address this policy issue is one of the major reasons why we are not able to move forward,” he said.
“As a legislator, I am really interested in inserting a clause in the Bangsamoro Basic Law, which would address this political dynasty syndrome,” he added.
Article II, Section 26 of the 1987 Constitution states: “The State shall guarantee equal access to opportunities for public service, and prohibit political dynasties as may be defined by law.”
Sought for comment by the senator, former Supreme Court chief justice Hilario G. Davide, also one of the framers of the Constitution, said that the proposal “would be a good step forward.”
“Perhaps it’s the right time to exercise political will providing for an anti-political dynasty provision,” Mr. Davide said.
However, Senator Vicente C. Sotto III and members of the Bangsamoro Transition Council (BTC) opposed the idea, saying that the existing problem over political dynasties was a national concern and not only limited to the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
The proposed BBL, when passed, would create a new Bangsamoro entity that would replace the ARMM.
“Hopefully, we don’t think that the people in the ARMM or those who will be covered in the BBL would say that we are unfair because we’re going to do it to them but we’re not going to do it with the rest of the country? So might as well pass an anti-dynasty law,” Mr. Sotto said.
BTC Commissioner Omar Yasser C. Sema said the provision would violate the equal protection clause of the Constitution, which indicates the right of every people to vote and to be voted upon.
He also pointed out that the election of officials under the proposed BBL focuses more on political party affiliation, its platforms and sectoral representation, instead of the political family.
“There is no necessity of putting an anti-dynasty law there… Right now, our trajectory make the elections in the ARMM or in the Bangsamoro area open to everybody,” he said.
For her part, BTC Commissioner Maisara Dandamun-Latiph said, “It would send a wrong signal that we are being singled out, our region, considering that it is a national epidemic.”
Nabil A. Tan, undersecretary of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), warned of implications if the anti-dynasty provision is included in the proposed BBL.
“People in the Bangsamoro may look at it again as classifying them as second class citizen because you’re doing that to the Bangsamoro, you’re not doing that in the national scale,” he said.
“It should not be seen as discriminatory for the Bangsamoro,” he added.
Senator Juan Miguel F. Zubiri, who chairs the subcommittee on BBL, said he fears that the provision might “bring disaster in our hands” with its passage as Bangsamoro leaders have expressed disapproval on its inclusion.
Meanwhile, Mr. Drilon maintained that the Bangsamoro people would overcome the prejudice against the anti-dynasty provision if they see that the proposed policy is “good for democracy, good for the development.”