Senators urge immediate anti-political dynasty bill passage

MANILA Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon and Senator Grace Poe on Monday expressed their full support for the immediate passage of an anti-political dynasty bill, which they said would ensure good governance through greater political inclusion.

Senate Bill 1765, which seeks to prohibit political dynasty, was sponsored at the Senate plenary by Senator Francis Pangilinan last Wednesday.

The Anti-Political Dynasty bill proposes to define and prohibit political dynasties, and provide PeAalties as mandated by the Constitution.

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."

In his co-sponsorship speech Monday on Senate Bill 1765, Drilon said the regulation of political dynasties is consistent with the aspiration in the country for a more inclusive society, a fairer and more competitive political process, and a more balanced and inclusive political development.

He stressed that the passage of an anti-political dynasty law is now more necessary, if only to ensure the success of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

"Our nation's dream for a stable and progressive Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao will fail unless we adopt an anti-political dynasty law that will be in place before a Bangsamoro government is installed," Drilon said.

Drilon earlier insisted on the inclusion of an anti-political dynasty provision in the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) but was prevailed upon during the bicameral conference committee meeting.

Citing a study of Ateneo de Manila, Drilon has pointed out that four out of the five poorest provinces in the Philippines are in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) reportedly due to political dynasties.

He expressed his concern that tremendous power and resources devolved to the Bangsamoro government may only empower and strengthen political kingpins and warlords in the region.

"We can rightfully equate good governance, progress, and peace not only in the Bangsamoro but in the entire country, with the speedy enactment of Senate Bill 1765," he said.

"The time for debate is over. Thirty-one years ago, the Filipino people mandated us in Congress to enact an anti-political dynasty law. It is time for us to act now. Let us pass Senate Bill 1765 now," Drilon said.

Meanwhile, Poe noted that it is common knowledge that from the largest province to the smallest barangay (village), there is a political family that has entrenched itself by undergoing a "rigodon" of public office every few years.

Our country has been called an 'Anarchy of Families.' Pero sa totoo, I think politics in our country is more like a game of "Trip to Jerusalem" si Mayor ay makikipagpalit kay Governor, si Board Member ay magiging Congressman (mayor will change places with governor, board member will become congressman). And in doing so, the circle of available 'seats' gets smaller every election cycle, she said in her co-sponsorship speech.

Poe said this leads to the concentration of decision-making powers in the hands of a few families, which in turn leads to a culture of "palakasan", where preferential treatment is given to people who are close to those in power.

The net result is the degradation of public services and the underdevelopment of our country, she said.

Poe said while not all political dynasties are bad citing the OsmeAas, Magsaysays, Rectos, and even the Sottos of past generations who have contributed greatly to our country she noted that political dynasties constrict political and economic power in the hands of a few.

Higit pa, dahil sa mga political families, hindi nakakaupo sa gobyerno ang mga pinakamagaling at pinakamatalinong mga Pilipino. Maraming Pilipino ang gustong maglingkod, pero hindi kaya dahil 'reserved' na ang mga puwesto para sa kapatid, anak o asawa ng pulitiko(Furthermore, because of political families, the best and brightest Filipinos cannot sit in government. Many Filipinos want to serve but are unable because the position is already 'reserved' to the siblings, progenies or spouses of the politicians), she said.

Mr. President, we have a choice today. We can stick to the status quo or we can take a step toward greater political and economic inclusion by immediately passing this measure, Poe said. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency