Supreme Court asked to force Congress to pass antidynasty lawBy Christine O. Avendaño
Philippine Daily Inquirer
A group of petitioners on Thursday asked the Supreme Court to compel Congress to pass a law banning political dynasties, something which they said Congress had “wantonly neglected” to do for 25 years since it was decreed by the 1987 Constitution.
They asked the high court to issue a writ of mandamus against the Senate and the House of Representatives “requiring them to enact a law prohibiting and defining political dynasties as mandated by Article II, Section 26 of the Constitution.”
Among the petitioners who went to the high tribunal on Thursday were lawyer Leonardo de Vera, anticrime crusader Dante Jimenez of the Volunteers against Crime and Corruption and Raymund Jarque.
The group said the petition was a “class suit against the Congress of the Philippines for its failure to perform the task of enacting a law prohibiting political dynasties.”
“The inaction of Congress has been appalling. Every bill in Congress against political dynasties was stifled by congressional inaction,” the petitioners said.
Sen. Teofisto Guingona Jr. has signed on as a petitioner but was not with the group Thursday. Guingona is among the lawmakers who have filed bills outlawing political dynasties in the past.
Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago has filed a similar measure that is now being discussed at committee level but the bill only deals with political dynasties at the local level.
According to the petition, the history of the past 25 years showed the difficulty in passing an antipolitical dynasty bill.
It said this was the first time that the Supreme Court was being asked to compel Congress to pass a law prohibiting and defining “political dynasty”.
Speaking to reporters, De Vera said that the group went to the high court so they could get “speedy and immediate” relief.
Jimenez said it looked like there was only two more spots left to vie for in the 12-seat Senate in the coming elections as 10 candidates were sure to win because of their blood ties with incumbent officials and senators.
He said these candidates were: Paolo “Bam” Aquino and Margarita Coujangco who are related to President Aquino; Nancy Binay, a daughter of Vice President Jejomar Binay; Jack Enrile, the son of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile; JV Ejercito, half-brother of incumbent Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, both sons of deposed President Joseph Estrada; incumbent Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, brother of Sen. Pia; Cynthia Villar, the wife of Sen. Manuel Villar; and Aurora Rep. Juan Edgardo Angara,the son of Sen. Edgardo Angara.
Jimenez said two other senatorial aspirants with political family names—Zambales Rep. Mitos Magsaysay and former senator Ramon Magsaysay Jr.—might also win.
Jimenez called on the candidates to withdraw their candidacy and give way to more qualified aspirants.