Anti-dynasty bill passes committee lvl

By Sammy F. Martin of PNA

FOR the first time since 1987, the House Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms on Wednesday approved the consolidated version of three House anti-dynasty bills and vowed to submit the committee report by next week.

Under the consolidated version of House Bill Nos. 172, 837 and 2911 prepared by a technical working group, the proposed law will no longer allow relatives of an elective official up to the second degree of consanguinity or affinity to seat in an elective position.

Section 3[c] of the measure defines “relatives of a person who may be the latter’s brother or sister, direct ascendant or direct descendant, whether legitimate or illegitimate, full or half blood, including their spouses.”

The committee will present its committee report to plenary for debate, hoping that the bill will be approved on third and final reading to complete the historic passage.

Records show that the anti-dynasty bill, which was filed since the administration of President Corazon C. Aquino in 1987, did not reach plenary and the approval of the measure by the House committee in the current Congress was considered remarkable.

Section 5 of the consolidated bill states that “no spouse or those persons covered and prohibited candidates related within the second degree of consanguinity or affinity, whether legitimate or illegitimate, full or half blood, to an incumbent elective official seeking reelection shall be allowed to hold or run for any local or national elective office in the same election.”

“In case where none of the candidates is related to an incumbent elective official within the second civil degree of consanguinity or affinity, but are related to one another within the said prohibited degree of relationship, they, including their spouses, shall be disqualified from holding or running for any local or national elective office in the same election.”

“In all cases, no person within the said prohibited civil degree of relationship to the incumbent shall immediately succeed to the position of the latter provided, however, that this section shall not apply to punong barangay or members of the sangguniang barangay.”

A candidate, except for barangay elective position, needs to file a sworn statement with the Commission on Elections (Comelec) that he or she does not have a political dynasty relationship with an incumbent elective official running for any elective office.

Should the Comelec learn that the candidate is disqualified because of violation of the Act, all votes cast in his favor will be considered void and deemed not counted and he will not be qualified to assume office.

At the hearing, Bayan Muna partylist Rep. Neri Colmenares recommended to the committee that if no one does not want to withdraw among candidate relatives, they can break the impasse through raffle and whoever emerges as the winner will be considered as the official candidate.

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