SC asked to compel Congress to pass law vs political dynasty-A A +A
Thursday, October 25, 2012
MANILA (2nd Update, 3:50 p.m.) -- In another attempt to stem the influence of political families, lawyers and a non-government group asked the Supreme Court on Thursday to require Congress to pass a law enforcing the constitutional prohibition on electing relatives in government.
Led by the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) and backed by former Vice President Teofisto Guingona Jr., and four others, the 26-page petition for mandamus came after they noted the supposed refusal of lawmakers to pass the long pending measure.
"The clear intent of the framers of the Constitution is to prohibit political dynasties and it is the duty of Congress to define the same. Congress is given the discretion in defining political dynasty but not the discretion on when to enact the same," the petition stated.
The Senate has begun the committee hearings on the bill sponsored by Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago banning relatives of incumbent local politicians to succeed them. National positions such as Senator, Vice President and President are excluded.
But Senator Aquilino Pimentel III, who called for the hearing on Tuesday, and the Commission on Elections (Comelec) admitted that they cannot expect congressmen and senators to pass a bill that would have them as main target.
Thus, Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes urged the public last week to use people’s initiative in crafting legislation against political dynasties.
Under Republic Act 6735 (The Initiative and Referendum Act), any proposed law should be signed by at least 10 percent of the total registered of which every legislative district must be represented by at least three percent of the registered voters in that district.
Without an enabling law, Malacañang asked voters to pick candidates not solely on the basis of a familiar surname but of track record, qualifications, platforms and visions.
Last week, a certain Louis Biraogo also filed a petition for mandamus asking the SC to compel the Comelec to outlaw political dynasties. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)