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House ‘unlikely’ to pass Anti-Political Dynasty bill — solon

/ 04:57 PM July 22, 2020
Agusan del Norte 1st District Representative Lawrence Fortun

Agusan del Norte 1st District Representative Lawrence Fortun. PHOTO FROM FACEBOOK

MANILA, Philippines — While remaining hopeful that his bill seeking to prohibit political dynasties will be passed, Agusan del Norte 1st District Rep. Lawrence Fortun said Wednesday that its chances in the House of Representatives seem dim.

Fortun, who authored House Bill No. 110 filed more than a year ago, even referenced Nat King Cole’s song “Mona Lisa” in talking about the chances of a political dynasty bill getting passed in the House.

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“I don’t want to be so pessimistic, but I am afraid the song Mona Lisa has the answer: The bill may just lie there and die there,” Fortun said in a statement.

“While House Bill No. 110, the anti-political dynasty bill I authored, is languishing in the committee, I am still hoping the measure will eventually merit the approval of our colleagues,” the lawmaker said.

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However, Fortun said that no less than 70 percent of the members of the House come from political dynasties—the very same thing he is trying to prohibit.

The 1987 Constitution states very clearly that the “State shall guarantee equal access to opportunities for public service and prohibit political dynasties as may be defined by law.”

However, no law has been passed defining political dynasties.

“It is a major mandate of Congress to pass laws that enable the enforcement of non-self-executing provisions of our Constitution. The political dynasty provision is one of them,” Fortun said.

“It is regrettable that this important provision of the Constitution that is critical to leveling the playing field in our electoral processes, ensuring checks and balance in governance, and further strengthening our democracy, has been ignored and set aside for the last 33 years,” the lawmaker added.

Despite this, Fortun said that while passing a bill against political dynasties may be a “mountain to climb,” it is “not impossible.”

“We know that the Senate is also replete with members coming from established dynasties, but in 2018, its electoral reforms committee approved a bill banning political dynasties,” Fortun said.

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Fortun said that the House Committee on Suffrage has previously approved a “less strict anti-political dynasty bill” back in the 16th Congress. This, however, did not even reach voting on second reading.

Cagayan de Oro City 2nd District Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, who chairs the House’s constitutional amendments committee, earlier announced that his committee will convene after President Rodrigo Duterte’s State of the Nation Address (Sona) to discuss the Charter change proposals of different mayors in the country.

Rodriguez said that the meeting could happen within the first two weeks of Congress’ second regular session.

In a previous hearing, the anti-political dynasty provision in the proposed amendments of the Constitutional Reform (CoRe) Movement and the Department of the Interior and Local Government-Inter-agency Task Force on Federalism and Constitutional Reform (DILG-IATF) was met with raised eyebrows among lawmakers.

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TAGS: Cha-cha, Charter change, House, lawmakers, political dynasty
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