Pimentel not giving up on antidynasty billBy Jerome Aning, Norman Bordadora
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Even a generation of lawmakers made up of dynasts can come up with the necessary and long overdue antidynasty legislation, said Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel, who chairs the Senate committee on electoral reforms.
Though it was unlikely that Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago’s bill banning political dynasties can be approved in time for the 2013 elections, Pimentel said his committee would conduct hearings on the bill to come up with a definition of what a political dynasty is.
He said he expected the committee to come up with a better, improved version of the Santiago bill, which could then be refiled in the next Congress.
As for the prospects of an antidynasty bill in a new Congress expected to be dominated by members of political families, Pimentel said he was banking on the offspring of political clans being better educated.
“I never lose hope because thinking really changes across generations. The child of a politician may be more modern in his or her thinking, he or she may have studied more deeply than his or her parents,” he said.
Pimentel himself comes from an incipient political dynasty, being the son and heir of a long-serving senator, Aquilino Pimentel Jr.
Had Pimentel secured his Senate seat immediately after the 2007 elections, he would have served in the chamber simultaneously with his father, who ended his second and last term in 2010.
With Pimentel’s election protest against the now-resigned Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri still pending in 2010, his sister Gwendolyn ran for the Senate under the Nacionalista Party ticket in 2007, but lost.
“The matter of what degree of consanguinity or affinity should be covered by the definition of political dynasty is a matter of policy. We can make that two degrees or four degrees but four degrees may already be unfair because that would already involve first cousins,” Pimentel said.
“I mean that [relationship] is no longer too close,” he added.
The 2013 senatorial elections is shaping up to be a dynastic affair with the candidacies of reelectionist Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, Cagayan Rep. Jack Enrile, San Juan Rep. JV Ejercito and Nancy Binay.
If they win, Ejercito will be sitting in the same Senate with his brother, Sen. Jinggoy Estrada; Jack Enrile, with his father, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, and Cayetano, with his sister, Sen. Pia Cayetano.
Cayetano’s six-year term overlapped with that of his sister. Binay is the daughter of Vice President Jejomar Binay. If she wins, her term that would run three years beyond her father’s vice presidency that would end in 2016.
Compared to the two antidynasty bills currently pending in Congress, the antipolitical dynasty law being pushed via people’s initiative by the Kapatiran Party is tougher and more encompassing.
Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago’s Senate Bill No. 2649 and House Bill No. 3418, coauthored by several party-list House members, define political dynasties to include spouses of and persons related to an incumbent public official or a candidate up to the second degree of consanguinity or affinity, meaning his or his wife’s parents, siblings, children, grandparents and grandchildren.