House Speaker to SC: Let Congress decide on law vs political dynasties-A A +A
Friday, October 26, 2012
HOUSE Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. on Friday said the Supreme Court (SC) cannot force Congress to pass an enabling law prohibiting political dynasties.
"No, they can't compel us to do such. The Supreme Court can rule on constitutionality but cannot order a co-equal body what law to pass," Belmonte said.
Belmonte's statement was in reaction to the petition filed by a group led by former Vice President Teofisto Guingona Jr. requesting the SC to issue a Writ of Mandamus against the Senate and House of Representatives, requiring both chambers to enact a law as provided for in the 1987 Constitution.
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."
Up to this date, however, Congress has failed to pass an enabling law.
Bayan Muna party-list Representative Teddy Casino's House Bill 3413, which seeks to prohibit the establishment of political dynasties, has been pending in the House committee on suffrage and electoral reforms since October 2010.
The lawmaker-son of former President Joseph Estrada, for his part, appealed to the SC to give Congress the initiative and wisdom to pass the law against political dynasties.
"While we do not have an enabling law on political dynasty yet we have to follow the qualifications set by the law such as citizenship, age, and residency. After all, it will be the people who will choose their leaders and will have the final judgment," Ejercito said.
He added that candidates belonging to prominent families should not be deprived of their right to serve the Filipino people.
Ejercito is running for senator in the 2013 midterm elections under the United Nationalist Alliance of his father and Vice President Jejomar Binay.
Zambales Representative Jun Omar Ebdane, for his part, said that instead of prohibiting political dynasties, Congress should "limit" them.
"For some areas, political dynasties work well. The people or voters are the ones who can and should always decide on the matter. But we might as well limit the dynasties," he said.
Ebdane is the son of incumbent Zambales Governor Hermogenes Ebdane, the former Secretary of the Department of Public Works and Highways. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)