Drilon re-files bill banning political dynasties

PHILSTAR

A BILL banning political dynasties in government has been filed anew in the Senate by Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon. Senate Bill No. 11, or the proposed “Anti-political Dynasty Act,” seeks to prohibit the spouse or relatives of an incumbent elective official to simultaneously run within the same city or province or occupy the same position immediately after the term. It covers relatives within the second civil degree of consanguinity or affinity. If enacted, the measure will serve as the enabling law of the anti-political dynasty provision under the 1987 Constitution. “No less than the Constitution mandates the State to guarantee equal access to public service and prohibit political dynasties as may be defined by law,” Mr. Drilon said in a statement, Tuesday. — Charmaine A. Tadalan

Poe revives FoI bill

A BILL mandating all government agencies to give access to documents of public concern has been re-filed by Senator Grace Poe-Llamanzares on Tuesday. Senate Bill No. 121, the “People’s Freedom of Information (FoI) Act,” a pet bill by the solon, covers all government agencies and provides an all-encompassing and uniform standard of procedure for the operation of FoI. “Transparency is essential to accountability. Without transparency, citizens cannot access the information needed to collectively discern the fitness of public officials, elected otherwise, to hold public office,” Ms. Poe said in the explanatory note of the bill. This proposed law will strengthen and expand Executive Order No. 2, issued by President Rodrigo R. Duterte in 2016, which mandates offices under the executive branch to disclose public documents on their Web sites. Among the provisions of the bill is a mandate to high ranking officials, such as the President, vice-president, and members of Congress, to upload online their Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth; while all government agencies would be required to disclose documents, like the annual budget of government agencies, itemized monthly collections and disbursements, and summary of incomes and expenditures. — Charmaine A. Tadalan

Justice chief says filing an impeachment case not an ‘unlawful act’

JUSTICE SECRETARY Menardo I. Guevarra said filing a complaint for impeachment against an officer is not an “unlawful act.” “Looking at it from the DoJ’s (Department of Justice’s) point of view, of course we always follow the rules and the law of the matter and unless somebody is caught in the act of committing a crime, you know, generally a warrant of arrest will be needed so there are only a few situations where warrantless arrests are allowed or permitted under our rules so in situations where an unlawful act is not being committed in the first place, so there will be no legal basis for an arrest,” Mr. Guevarra said in a press conference. “So the question before us now is: Is filing a complaint for impeachment an unlawful act? And my answer to that question is certainly no,” he added. Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Oscar D. Albayalde on Monday said they are ready to arrest people who want to file an impeachment complaint against President Rodrigo R. Duterte provided that they are found violating the law. Mr. Duterte last month said he will put in jail those who will file an impeachment complaint against him, following a statement made by former Foreign Affairs secretary Albert F. Del Rosario in an interview with ANC that the President could be impeached for not protecting the country’s territory in the West Philippine Sea. Presidential Spokesperson Salvador S. Panelo has said that the threat of the President was “only an expression of displeasure, disappointment. It is a righteous indignation.” — Vann Marlo M. Villegas

HRW flags drug war impact on children, cites 3-year old killed

NEW YORK-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) has noted that the government’s war on drugs has “damaged” Filipino children, citing the recent death of a three-year old girl who was hit during a drug buy-bust operation in Rizal province. “The ‘drug war’ has also damaged countless Filipino children who continue to grapple with the psychological, emotional, social, and economic impact of the killings of their loved ones, who were often their family’s breadwinner,” said HRW Asia Division researcher Carlos H. Conde in a statement. The three-year old Myka Ulpina was caught in a cross fire between suspected drug pushers, including her father, and policemen last Sunday. “Most of those killed in Duterte’s anti-drug campaign, including the children like Myka, lived in impoverished urban areas,” noted Mr. Conde. “The deaths of Myka and other children, as well as the thousands of adults, should prod the UN Human Rights Council to adopt the Iceland-initiated resolution that urges the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to report on the “drug war” killings and other human rights violations in the Philippines,” he added. For his part, Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesperson Col. Bernard M. Banac said in a message to reporters: “The PNP is continuously improving on its systems and procedures through better equipment and training to enhance combat survivability of our personnel and to actively deter violent resistance by suspects when effecting arrests.” — Vince Angelo C. Ferreras