House leader: Destiny puts political families in power-A A +A
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
A LEADER of the House of Representatives believed that political dynasties do not exist in the country as political families are put into power by their own "destiny."
"There's no such thing as a dynasty, its destiny," House Minority Leader Danilo Suarez said in a press conference Wednesday.
Suarez is on his last term as third district representative of Quezon province. His wife, Aleta Catarina, has filed candidacy papers to replace him in the next Congress.
Suarez's son, David or Jayjay, is the current governor of Quezon. Another son, Danilo Suarez, Jr., is the first nominee of the party-list group Alliance of Organizations, Networks and Associations of the Philippines Inc.
"We have been here for 23 years. Why are we being elected continuously? Because we are doing the right thing. At the end of the day, it's an issue of the electorate," added Suarez, a close ally of former President and now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
In a Senate hearing on Tuesday, Senators Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III and Panfilo Lacson expressed their support of the bill prohibiting the establishment of political dynasties in the country.
The two senators, however, said Congress lacks time to pass an anti-political dynasty law before the 2013 elections.
Pimentel said one major roadblock of the bill is the present composition of Congress, where many lawmakers belong to dynasties.
Several personalities who filed their certificates of candidacy for senator for the 2013 elections also come from prominent political families.
The ruling Liberal Party (LP), for instance, has included presidential cousin Paolo Benigno "Bam" Aquino IV in its line-up.
Also included in the LP ticket are Aurora Representative Juan Edgardo "Sonny" Angara, son of Senator Edgardo Angara; and reelectionist Pimentel, a son of former Senator Aquilino Pimentel Jr.
The kin of the "big three" officials of the United Nationalist Alliance are also being fielded in the 2013 elections. They are San Juan City Representative JV Ejercito, son of former President Joseph Estrada; Nancy Binay, daughter of Vice President Jejomar Binay; and Jack Enrile, son of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile.
President Benigno Aquino III's adviser on political affairs Ronald Llamas who supports the objective of the bill seeking to end political dynasties said that voters should not choose candidates based on their surnames but on their qualifications and track records.
"We support the objective of opening up our political system to new participants, and of promoting among voters the awareness of choosing candidates not solely on the basis of a familiar surname but of track record, qualifications, platforms and visions," Llamas said.
He added that the Aquino administration stands by the 1987 Constitution, which prohibits political dynasties.
While Llamas supports the objectives of the anti-dynasty bill, he said that draft bills in Congress "still have to undergo a process to ensure that the objectives are indeed met, without unnecessarily infringing on the rights relating to suffrage."
For his part, Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda refused to confirm whether the Aquino administration would prioritize the measure.
"It's there already. There are already pending bills also before the House if I recall, there are several bills pending before the House in previous Congresses. So this is a legislative discretion whether they would like to tackle it or not," he said.
"As far as we're concerned, we continue with the business of governance. It's a matter for the legislature to discuss amongst themselves on the anti-dynasty bill," he added.
Earlier, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Sixto Brillantes, Jr. encouraged the public to take it upon themselves to ban political dynasties because Congress has failed to pass an enabling law to prohibit dynasties.
Section 26, Article II of the Constitution provides that "The State shall guarantee equal access to opportunities for public service, and prohibit political dynasties as may be defined by law."
Brillantes said the public may resort to the constitutional provision on people's initiative to prevent the dominance of certain families in the political arena. (Kathrina Alvarez/Jill Beltran/Sunnex)