Senate bets from political clans support anti-dynasty bill

MANILA, Philippines – Three members of political families vying in the senatorial race threw their support for a proposed measure that seeks to end political dynasties in the country. 

At an election forum in the University of the Philippines on Friday, January 29, former Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority chief Mark Lapid, former energy secretary Jericho Petilla, and Leyte Representative Martin Romualdez were pressed on their stance on the anti-political dynasty bill. 

The measure sets restrictions on relatives of those in elective and appointive positions to seek government posts. It has been filed several times but continues to languish in Congress for 3 decades. (READ: Homestretch: Will FOI, Bangsamoro, anti-political dynasty bills be dead in 2016?)

Lapid, the son of incumbent Senator Lito Lapid, said he is in favor of passing the controversial bill so that there would be guidelines for those who belong to political families.

Guidelines needed

 I am in favor of anti-dynasty law na maipasa na sa wakas para po magkaroon talaga tayo ng guidelines kung ano meron tayo (to have it passed finally so that we can have a guidelines that could define what [we should have])," Lapid said.

In the absence of such guidelines, he said: “Sumasailalim tayo sa demokrasya at kami ay sumailalim sa proseso ng demokrasya. Kami po hinalal ng taumbayan (We are governed by democracy and we underwent the process of democracy.We were elected by the people)."

Petilla, whose brother is the incumbent Leyte governor, said that “dynasties are created by people.”

“But a lot of dynasties fell down because of the people," he quickly added.

He said he supports the measure as long as it sticks to its pure intention: give the public more options. 

“When we [agree on] a very stiff law, baka di natin binibigyan ng option ang tao (we may not be giving the people options),” he cautioned, adding that the extents of the bills should not be very restrictive. 

Lift term limits?

Romualdez, a congressman and the cousin of Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr, said that lawmakers can pass the measure but they should also lift the term limits of politicians. (READ: Romualdez cousins supporting Binay in 2016?)

“In the US, there are no term limits. That doesn’t become an issue," he said, adding that there, "an individual can serve lengthily without the need of families to replace him.”

Aside from the 3 “senatoriables” other candidates who joined the forum also expressed support for the anti-dynasty measure: former interior secretary Rafael Alunan III, former military chief-of-staff Dionisio Santiago, former Maguindanao officer-in-charge Nariman Ambolodto, and whistleblower Sandra Cam. – 

Patty Pasion

Patty leads the Rappler+ membership program. She used to be a Rappler multimedia reporter who covered politics, labor, and development issues of vulnerable sectors.