SK law fuels ban on clans

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Former Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman Sixto Brillantes believes the anti-dynasty provision in the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) Reform law has already activated the Constitution’s ban on political clans.

Brillantes, in a TV interview, said the SK law’s anti-political dynasty provision should be applicable to elective officials in other positions, as the measure bans an individual within the second civil degree of consanguinity or affinity to any elected official to seek election or to be appointed to any position in the SK.

The measure bans an individual within the second civil degree of consanguinity or affinity to any elected official to seek election or to be appointed to any position in the Sangguniang Kabataan.

“My own belief is that should apply already to everybody else because there is already a law. The SK law is a law. The definition there does not limit it to SK,” said Brillantes.

This is the first anti-dynasty provision enacted since the ratification of the 1987 Constitution—a charter that mandates Congress to ban political clans.

It can be remembered that a taxpayer has moved to use the SK law’s anti-dynasty provision in a bid to ban the congressional bid of former Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano and his wife Taguig Mayor Lani Cayetano.

The former Comelec chief said the poll agency can rule on this petition but he hopes it would be elevated to the Supreme Court (SC) to settle the issue on the scope of the SK law’s anti-dynasty provision.

“The Constitution only required an enabling law, and there is an enabling law now which defines political dynasties. We would like the Supreme Court to rule on this,” Brillantes said, adding that he believes many politicians will be affected if the SC rules that the SK anti-dynasty provision is applicable to other elective officials.

He said it is about time to ban dynasties which have become rampant throughout the country after Congress failed to pass an anti-dynasty law in the past three decades.

“The dynasty is already overkill at this point in time,” said Brillantes. “All kinds of dynasties should be prohibited, under the Constitution — fat, thin, anything — it has to be prohibited.”

In February this year, Dean Ronald Mendoza of the Ateneo School of Government said “fat political dynasties” or families with members simultaneously holding government positions are strong indicators of poverty and underdevelopment.

Mendoza — who made a study on the relation of poverty and political dynasties in the Philippines — said these fat dynasties should be the target of an anti-political dynasty law for an inclusive democracy.

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