Four city councilors of Puerto Princesa declined to become joint authors of a proposed resolution supporting the passing of the consolidated Senate Bill 1765 that bans political dynasties in the Philippines.
They were councilors Modesto Rodriguez, Jimmy Carbonnel, Victor Oliveros, and Acting Vice Mayor Nancy Socrates.
They refused opposition Councilor Peter Maristela’a suggestion that all members of the City Council be the authors of the resolution.
Senate Bill 1765 is a consolidated bill against political dynasties brought together by six separate bills and is due for presentation to the plenary for debates.
The proposed bill defines political dynasty as the “concentration, consolidation, and/or perpetuation of public office and political powers by persons related to one another within the second degree of consanguinity or affinity”.
It covers “spouses (legal and common-law), siblings (full or half-blood), parents, and children (legitimate, illegitimate, and adopted) and the spouses of these second-degree relatives.”
Maristela said the law, if passed, will prevent members of the same family, or anyone within second degree of consanguinity and affinity, from simultaneously seeking public office. He noted noting this had happened during the 2013 and 2016 elections.
“Nangyari po ito noong 2013 at 2016 sa atin. Naglaban noon ay related by affinity. Wala na po bang ibang pamilya?” Maristela asked.
He was referring to then vice mayor Lucilo Bayron and Ellen Hagedorn, wife of former mayor Edward Hagedorn, who both aspired for mayoralty position in the 2013 elections.
In the 2016 synchronized national and local elections, both Bayron and Hagedorn again ran for the mayoralty post. Both their wives are siblings, and they are related by affinity.
Oliveros said however the electorate should be given a choice to vote for candidates based mainly on their performance.
“Tinitingnan naman ng tao sa performance kung dapat bang itaguyod at tingalain. Hayaan na ang tao na pumili kung sino ang gustong piliin nila. Ito ay kumitil sa sa isang tao, sa kayang opportunity rin na may mas magandang layunin. Baka meron syang mas maraming bagay na pwedeng magawa,” he said.
Rodriguez said prohibiting individuals from seeking public office because he/she has a sibling occupying elective government posts will be denying them an opportunity to serve.
“Ito ay hindi umaayon sa parehas na oportunidad sa lahat na manunungkulan sa pamahalaan. Taong bayan ang nagsasabi na ikaw ay dapat dyan. Kung hindi ay hindi ka rin naman mananalo. Alam naman natin na sila ay pinipili sa pamamagitan ng demokratikong proseso sa makabuluhang halalan,” he said.
Rodriguez also fears that the law if passed will have a retroactive effect to those incumbent officials within the same municipality, city or province and are related up to second degree of affinity and consanguinity to be removed from their post.
“Baka ito ay mayroong retroactive effect. Paano kung magkapatid kayo at kayo ay nasa iisang probinsya, gusto n’yong magsilbi. Pipigilan ba kayo na tumakbo,?” he asked. “Ito ay magiging prejudicial sa dalawa na gustong tumakbo,” he added.
On the other hand, Socrates said she will support the bill, while admitting she can be affected by it.
“Napakahirap balansehin. Ito ay nalihis lang ng konti pero muntik akong nasapol. Pero sang-ayon ako dito,” she said.
“Dapat ang batas ay maging fair sa lahat, na po-protektahan ng batas ang may mga pangalan (incumbent) at mga bago (neophyte),” she said.
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