A BILL against political dynasties was sponsored at the Senate on Wednesday by Senator Francis N. Pangilinan, chairperson of the Senate committee on constitutional amendments and revision of codes.
Before this body, the Committee on Electoral Reforms and People’s Participation (headed by Koko) and the Committee on Constitutional Amendments and Revision of Codes are submitting Committee Report No. 367 on Senate Bill No. 1765, in substitution of Senate Bills No. 49, 230, 897, 1137, 1258, and 1668,” Mr. Pangilinan said in his sponsorship speech.
He said in his speech that the “Anti-Political Dynasty bill proposes to define and prohibit political dynasties, and provide penalties therefor as again mandated by the Constitution.”
The senator added: “The bill defines political dynasty as the ‘concentration, consolidation, and/or perpetuation of public office and political powers by persons related to one another within the second degree of consanguinity or affinity.’”
Mr. Pangilinan also noted that “the question of whether or not dynasties are good for the country is immaterial because the Constitution mandates that the Congress must define by law political dynasty that it should be, ought to be prohibited.”
“It has been more than 30 years since the people, ratifying the 1987 Constitution in a plebiscite, directed us, lawmakers, to define by law political dynasties,” Mr. Pangilinan said.
He cited a study by the Ateneo School of Government, conducted “over a short nine-year period from 2007 to 2016,” that showed an increase of 58% to almost 70% among mayors from political dynasties; 70% to 81% among governors; 75% to almost 78% among members of the House of Representatives.”
Mr. Pangilinan cited further a study by the University of the Philippines showing that “19 of…23 sitting Senators (in 2013) came from families with political ties.”
“Furthermore, we here at the Senate, all products of Philippine political realities, have ourselves encountered and engaged with political dynasties, whether occupying government positions successively or simultaneously,” Mr. Pangilinan said.
Even the party-list system, the senator said, citing the UP study, “(which is) designed to democratize representation in Congress, has been hijacked, with one of every four sectoral representatives, or 14 of 56, now also from dynastic backgrounds.”
Mr. Pangilinan said further: “We’ve seen the ill effects of political dynasties, not just during the Marcos dictatorship, but in its resurgence post-EDSA. The Maguindanao Massacre comes to mind. The political system that promotes political dynasties, in a way, promotes bullying, allowing powerful blood relations to get away with one petty crime after another, and gaining more swagger every time they get away with it, until the crime becomes murder, plunder, and the like.”
“Dynastic clans control not just government positions but also resources. The evidence presented by the academicians in our hearing — evidence also presented and peer-reviewed by experts at the Oxford Development Studies — have shown, among others, that political dynasties are pervasive in the 10 poorest provinces in the country, and that the more severe the poverty, the higher the prevalence of political dynasties.”
In March, the Consultative Committee reviewing the 1987 Constitution voted to regulate rather than impose a total ban on political dynasties, extending this regulation up to the second degree of consanguinity and affinity.
But for its part, the bicameral conference committee which came up with the draft Bangsamoro Organic Law removed the ban on political dynasties, noting that no ban is in effect outside the Bangsamoro region.