CEBU CITY-Eight senatorial candidates called for a level political playing field by addressing the issue of political dynasty during the third and final senatorial forum of the Philippine Daily Inquirer held at the Cebu Cultural Center on Friday.
Bayan Muna Party list Rep. Teddy Casiño, author of the anti-dynasty bill and independent senatorial candidate, stressed the need to pass the bill to “bury political clans and kill political monopoly.”
Samson Alcantara, Juan Miguel Zubiri, Ricardo Penson, Bro. Eddie Villanueva and Rizalito David also gave their support to the bill.
Casiño, Alcantara, Villanueva and Zubiri agreed that Congress should amend the definition of political dynasties in the 1987 Philippine Constitution Article II Section 26. It stated that “the State shall guarantee equal access to opportunities for public service, and prohibit political dynasties as may be defined by law.”
Alcantara maintained that political dynasty was not like cholesterol, that there’s good and bad cholesterol. “Prohibited ang political dynasty, either good or bad. We should amend the constitution to define who is covered by political dynasty,” he added.
Villanueva also stressed that there should be “a black and white legal definition of political dynasty.”
Grace Poe of the Liberal Party-led coalition Team PNoy admitted that “political dynasty is discouraging others who don’t have financial capability to run a campaign.”
Poe noted that voter education is very important because it’s a tiny step towards electoral reform to give others a chance to serve.
Carlo Cabatingan,20, resident of Mandaue, Cebu and a University of the Philippines (UP) Cebu student, said that the senatorial debate helped him choose the candidates he will vote for in the May 13 election.
“This is one of the instances that senatorial candidates fly to Cebu and engage themselves in a discourse and platforms of a lawmaker we need,” Cabatingan explained.
He added that the senatorial debate is more effective than campaigning themselves because it’s “reflective of their accountability and sincerity for public service.”
Over a thousand supporters of the candidates gathered the CCC, bringing banners and chanting their candidates’ names throughout the forum.