By Camille A. Aguinaldo
SENATE PRESIDENT Aquilino L. Pimentel III on Sunday said the “most practical” measure to prohibit political dynasties was to simply focus on term succession and to ban any relative form succeeding an incumbent elective official.
“In my experience, this is the most practical anti-political dynasty provision: to focus on the succession. Let’s prohibit any relative of an elected official to succeed him or her. For me, it’s reasonable to prohibit up until two degrees of relationship,” he said in a radio interview.
“This is most likely where government funds and resources (are) being used in order to prepare a relative (to) attract voters and widen the possibility of winning,” he added.
Mr. Pimentel’s remarks came after a bill seeking to ban political dynasties was approved in the Senate committee level. The proposed measure centered on banning close relatives of an incumbent elected official from succeeding the incumbent or running for different positions simultaneously.
The Senate leader said he has already exhausted all scenarios on anti-dynasty reforms back when he headed the Senate committee on electoral reforms and people’s participation.
According to him, political families could still circumvent the bill as they have dodged term limit rules by passing the government position from one relative to another.
“What if two siblings with no elective positions decided to run for mayor and vice mayor and then they both won? How would we tell if they used their government position to hold office if they were both outsiders?” he said.
Mr. Pimentel said he believed that focusing on the succession prohibition would be the most practical and reasonable measure, which could be accepted by Congress.
He also warned that a measure targeting “fat dynasties” or families with members holding simultaneous government positions may not become a law.
“We will not have a law with the many issues, the many debates, and the many combination and permutation that cannot be captured into words,” he said.
He said he would raise his concerns on the proposed measure at the plenary when Congress resumes session in May.