Lawmakers seek end to dynasties

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Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares INQUIRER.net FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Militant lawmakers are seeking the passage of a bill banning political dynasties in a continuing bid to challenge the concentration of political power in the hands of a few families.

The lawmakers raised the need to level the political arena and guarantee equal access to public service.

The antipolitical dynasty bill was filed by lawmakers from militant party-list groups Bayan Muna, Gabriela, Anakpawis, ACT Teachers and Kabataan, and Caloocan City Rep. Edgardo Erice.

“Look around you and you will see that public office, in more cases than not, has become the exclusive domain of influential families and clans,” Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares said in a statement.

Colmenares cited a United Nations Development Program study that said 72 of 77 provinces in the country had political families. There were at least two dominant political clans in most of the provinces.

Because of sociopolitical inequalities, these ruling families tended to monopolize elective public office, he said.

“In many instances, voters, for convenience and out of a cultural mind-set, look up to these economically and politically dominant families as dispensers of favors, material and otherwise, and tend to elect relatives of these politically dominant families,” he said.

Gabriela Rep. Luz Ilagan said there must be a bill to limit the participation of political families in the elective process.

“We are pushing for this bill to give real teeth to the constitutional mandate and strengthen the call for a new politics to lay the basis for greater empowerment for the greater number of Filipinos,” Ilagan said.

Under the antidynasty bill, incumbent officials’ spouses and relatives within the second degree of consanguinity or affinity would not be allowed to hold or run for elective office in the same province or in the same election. Leila B. Salaverria

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