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SK polls: One small step for antidynasty law

/ 02:09 AM July 20, 2016

BELIEVE it or not: Children or close relatives of elected officials are not allowed to run in the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) election on Oct. 31.

Under Republic Act No. 10742, or the SK Reform Act of 2015, candidates should not be related within the second degree of consanguinity or affinity to any incumbent, elected national official; or to any incumbent regional, provincial, city, municipal, or barangay official, in the locality where he/she seeks to be elected.

Lawyer Romulo Macalintal said the Commission on Elections (Comelec) had no choice but to prohibit SK candidates with relation to elected national or local officials from running on Oct. 31.

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“The Comelec has no other recourse but to strictly implement this provision of the law. Doing otherwise will easily mean it is violating the law’s provision on political dynasty,” said Macalintal in a statement.

He said the Comelec could easily implement the law beginning with the inclusion of a declaration of having no relatives elected to public office in the certificate of candidacy (COC) forms, which are filed under oath.

The commission should also strictly screen the names of those who will file their COCs for the SK polls to determine if they indeed have relatives that are elected to public office, Macalintal said.

“For instance, if a candidate for SK is the child or grandchild or sibling of any of said incumbent official, or the in-law of the latter, the SK candidate should be disqualified from running for SK election in October 2016,” Macalintal said.

“In other words, those intending to run for SK official should see to it that he or she is not related within the second degree of consanguinity or affinity to the incumbent President, Vice President, any of the incumbent senators or party-list representatives, or to the incumbent representatives, governor, vice governor, board members, mayors, vice mayors, or councilors, regional governor, vice governor or assemblyman in their locality,” said Macalintal.

The Constitution bars political dynasties but this has not been enforced because of a lack of an enabling law, which has to be passed in Congress, many of whose members belong to dynasties.

As a result, a senator may have a sibling or mother in the Senate and may also have a wife, son or daughter, an uncle or cousin in the House of Representatives. A President, Vice President or member of Congress may even have a sibling, child or an in-law who are either a governor, vice governor or mayor.

More than 300,000 individuals have already applied to become registered voters for the barangay and SK polls, according to Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon.

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“Total new registrants for barangay and SK elections: 359,795 as of July 17,” Guanzon said in her Twitter account (@commrguanzon).

The Comelec opened the 16-day registration period for the Oct. 31 barangay and SK polls in all city and municipal offices of the election officers on July 15.

The registration period will continue until July 30, inclusive of Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.

The Comelec earlier said it expected some 6 million Filipinos to apply to become registered voters, including four million for the SK and another two million for the barangay polls.  Tina G. Santos

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TAGS: Nation, news, Republic Act No. 10742, Sangguniang Kabataan
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