Seares: Dynasty ban in youth elections

THE Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) or youth council elections this May 24 are mostly ignored beyond the barangays.

Who are talking about the changes of the law under Republic Act #10742 or the Sangguniang Kabataan Reform Act of 2015? Who are preparing for the SK elections? In deep freeze since 2013, the SK has failed to excite people even with the release three years ago of the rules that enforce the new law.

Except the politicians.

Obviously because of partisan interest. The SK federation president of each province, city or town sits in the local legislature, his vote counted as one.

Which can be crucial, especially when a party’s hold of the “sanggunian” teeters on the edge, such as in the Cebu City Council where the struggle has raged for more than seven years now. Thus, the scramble for getting the most number of SK chairmen who elect the federation head who will have that additional vote in the Sanggunian.

Who are covered

A major change in R.A.#10742 is the provision banning dynasties. The new law won’t bar political parties from pushing their SK bets but at least the youth leaders no longer will be politicians’ relative by blood or marriage: son, daughter, brother, sister, grandchild, nephew or niece.

(In 1977, the national SK chairperson was president’s daughter Imee Marcos, a “scandal” that a Mapua student railed against in a youth forum, ending up with the dissenter’s tortured body dumped on a Manila street.)

The ban under the new law applies to aspirants who are related within the second degree of consanguinity or affinity to any incumbent elected national, regional, provincial, city, town, or barangay official. The candidate is required to state in his COC that he has no relative in elective office who is covered by the ban.

Not full-blown

Congress still has to pass a full-blown bill on dynasties since the prohibition was included in the 1987 Constitution. Packed with legislators many of whom come from political clans, Congress waited for 21 years to produce a part of what the Constitution instructs.

The consultative commission created by presidential decree to assist Congress in amending the Constitution also adopted a proposal on a self-implementing ban. Don’t pin too much hope on it though. The constituent assembly could mangle or totally dump it.

Congress decides

The dynasty ban in the May elections, one may note, does not apply to barangay officials who will be elected on the same day. That should tell how far Congress was willing to go, as of 2015 when it passed R.A.#10742.

It is a start. But, again, it would still be up to Congress, through its constituent assembly, whether to expand the ban to include other elected public officials of the land. The Constitution the people will vote on during the plebiscite is what Congress will offer them.
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