By Charissa Luci-Atienza
MAGDALO partylist Rep. Gary Alejano wants to prohibit political dynasties to guarantee and provide equal access to opportunities for public office and public service to any qualified Filipino.
He filed House Bill 8025, lamenting that political dynasties have long been a feature of the country’s political landscape.
Citing a report by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Alejano said out of 77 provinces, 72 or about 94 percent are dominated by political families.
“To give force and effect to the provision prohibiting political dynasties, the playing field of the political arena should be levelled and opened to persons who are equally qualified to aspire on even terms with those from prominent political families, ” he said.
He noted that numerous academic literature have shown that high poverty incidence is directly correlated with the presence of political dynasties and that jurisdictions where dynasties are most prevalent also have lower scores on the human development index and lower standards of living.
“Dynasties imperil democracy as people are stifled by those perpetually in power to expand their choices for potential candidates, depriving them of the genuine and active participation of the people, which is the cornerstone of all healthy democracies, ” Alejano said.
“As long as there is no law that prohibits the proliferation of political dynasties, a few families will continue to possess regions in our country as their own personal fiefdoms and it will surely be the people that shall suffer the consequences,” he pointed out.
Alejano filed House Bill 8025 which provides that political dynasty relationship shall exist when the spouse or any relative within the second degree of consanguinity or affinity of an incumbent elective official, runs for public office to succeed or replace the incumbent, or runs for or holds any elective local office simultaneously with the incumbent within the same province, legislative district, city or municipality, and within the same barangay or barangays within the same legislative district.
The relationship also exists if the incumbent is a national elective official, including incumbents in the partylist system, and the spouse or relatives within the second degree of consanguinity or affinity run for any position in the national level or in the local level as barangay captain, mayor, governor, or district representative in any part of the country.
Such political dynasty relationship shall also be deemed to exist where two or more persons who are spouses, or are related to one another within the second degree on consanguinity or affinity run simultaneously for elective public official at the national level, or at local level within the same province, legislative district, municipality or city, and within the same barangay or barangays within the same legislative district, even if neither is so related to an incumbent elective official.
House Bill 8025 provides that any person with political dynasty relationship with any incumbent elective official shall not be allowed to run for or hold public office in the following manner: to immediately succeed or replace the incumbent;
If the incumbent is an elective barangay official, the spouse and the relatives are prohibited to run simultaneously for any position in the same barangay as well as in all the barangays in municipalities or cities within the same legislative district;
If the incumbent is an elective official of the municipality or city, legislative district or province, the spouse and relatives are prohibited to run for or hold any elective local office simultaneously with the incumbent within the same barangay, municipality, city, legislative district or province;
If the incumbent is a national elective office, the spouse and the relatives are likewise prohibited to run simultaneously for any position in the national or local level as barangay captain, mayor, governor or district representatives in any part of the country; and
If the incumbent is a barangay captain/mayor/governor or district representative, the spouse and the relatives are also prohibited to run simultaneously for any position in the national level.
The bill provides that persons who are not holding any public office shall likewise be prohibited from running in the same election if their election will result in a political dynasty relationship.
HB 8025 provides that a verified petition seeking to deny due course or to cancel a certificate of candidacy may be filed by any person for violation of the proposed Act.
The bill tasks the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to promulgate the implementing rules and regulations of the proposed Act.