The lack of an anti-political dynasty provision in the proposed Federal Constitution is enough reason to deny its endorsement by government, Consultative Committee head and former Chief Justice Reynato Puno said yesterday.
Puno stressed that an anti-political dynasty provision in the proposed federal system is important in shaping government distribution of powers.
“Political dynasties wield a lot of political and economic powers under the current Constitution and could gain more if the shift to federalism pushes through without such a ban,” said Puno during a televised interview.
“I will not endorse that kind of federalism for obvious reasons. We already see this situation today. A lot of government positions have been monopolized by families,” the former chief justice added.
Puno is also hoping lawmakers will adopt the necessary anti-dynasty provision if the Charter change will push through via a Constituent Assembly.
“Congress will have the last say on what provisions will make the final draft constitution, so I am hoping that they will adopt the provision,” said Puno days after the ConCom presented the draft federal charter to Duterte and to leaders of the House of Representatives on Monday.
No family members
The draft prohibits family members up to the second degree of consanguinity or affinity from running for the same position to replace an incumbent relative or from running for the same position with another relative in the same election.
On Tuesday, the bicameral conference committee on the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) decided to reject the provision against political dynasties in the proposed measure.
“As I said, the anti-dynasty provision is a fundamental predicate of our draft constitution.
We will be giving a lot of powers, near powers of sovereignty, to the different regions. And so, the implication is that you cannot give these near-sovereign powers to political dynasties. Otherwise, our government will be in a worse situation,” explained Puno in a previous interview.
Senator Grace Poe, meanwhile, pointed out that the 1987 Constitution already has a provision that mandates lawmakers to prohibit political dynasties. But no enabling law was passed to effect it.
She reiterated Puno’s call to have an anti-dynasty provision in the draft federal constitution.
“The inclusion an anti-political dynasty provision in the new charter is a ‘non-negotiable’ and its possible non-inclusion in the House version is a big concern,” said Poe in a separate interview.
“The local governments are controlled by a few families, that’s why it’s so difficult. If we want a more participative government, you can’t have a control of the few,” she added.
“If we want a federal form of government, let’s make it more accessible. Even if you’re not a prominent family, you’re not exactly wealthy, you have a chance. If they don’t include that in the provision, I think it’s self-defeating.”
Poe said a government official has to make sacrifices if he wants to serve the people.
“Government is not a business. Even if you say that your child can handle it, your family can, if you’re in position, everyone else has to make the sacrifice,” she said.