House leader backs anti-dynasty bill, but...

November 25, 2013 1:52 AM

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MANILA, Philippines - Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said yesterday he is in favor of the Anti-Political Dynasty Bill but admitted the measure could face rough sailing in the House of Representatives with a number of its members belonging to political clans.

Belmonte issued the statement after the House committee on suffrage and electoral reforms unanimously approved the bill, which seeks to ban relatives of incumbents up to the second degree of consanguinity from running in the same elections.

It was the first time that such a bill was passed in 12 years. The Constitution bans political dynasties but requires an enabling law to enforce it.

“I’d like to make a stand... I’m in favor of it. I think we ought to be happy that it has passed a committee, it seeks to comply with a provision that is contained in the 1987 Constitution,” Belmonte told reporters.

“We’ve advanced to a point where we have never advanced before, I think that’s already a positive achievement.”

Several members of the House have relatives who are in other elected or appointive posts.

The Speaker said that while he favors the bill, he would not pressure other lawmakers to support the landmark measure as the House is a collegial body.

“I believe it will experience rough sailing but I could be wrong, we’ve put up a big stone in one day, and I think that is something to be happy about but it’s a long way (to final passage),” he said.

Belmonte said the chamber has over 280 members so it would be hard to predict how the measure would fare in the plenary.


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