MANILA (Mabuhay) – President Benigno Aquino III has expressed support for a bill against political dynasties, but at the same time aired concerns that such a legislation may curtail the rights of politicians like himself.
In an interview with Bombo Radyo aired on Thursday morning, Aquino, who comes from a political clan from Tarlac, said he is in favor of a law that will prevent certain political families from wielding too much power.
“Pagkakaintindi ko, sa kasalukuyang Kongreso, mayroon na hong mga panukalang-batas na talagang umaabante na. Pati si Speaker (Sonny Belmonte), nagsalita na, pabor ho siya sa anti-dynasty bill. Ako rin ho,” the President said.
“Lalo na ‘pag ‘yung, ‘di ba, parang isang pamilya sa isang lugar ay nasa kanila na lahat—economic, political, kung minsan pati ‘yung judicial pati ‘yung sa security sector puro kamag-anak nila ay baka mahirapan tayog magkaroon ng tinatawag na malaya at saka makatotohanang halalan,” he said.
The President, however, admitted that having an anti-dynasty law may deprive his fellow politicians some rights.
“Ang hirap nga nito, kawawa naman kaming mga pulitiko kung tutuusin. Kapag pulitiko ka, dapat bawasan ang karapatan mo, dapat mas mataas ang scrutiny sa iyo,” Aquino said.
“Yung mapanatili ang magandang pangalan, basta pulitiko ka, mali ang dynasty. Pero kunwari, sa medicine, magretire ang doktor mo. Doktor ang anak niya. Una mong susubukin ang anak niya,” he added.
The President nevertheless said that it is high time to have an enabling law for the constitutional provision that prohibits political dynasties.
Article II Section 26 of the 1987 Constitution of the Philippines states that: “The State shall guarantee equal access to opportunities for public service, and prohibit political dynasties as may be defined by law.”
Earlier this year, Aquino said the anti-dynasty bill is not one of his administration’s priorities.
A version of the anti-dynasty bill is currently undergoing plenary debates at the House of Representatives. Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., whose relatives occupy various political posts in Quezon City, supports the passage of the measure.
The counterpart bill is still at the Senate committee level. Senate President Franklin Drilon nevertheless earlier encouraged his colleagues to pass the proposed legislation.
The Aquino-chaired Liberal Party has also committed to supporting the measure against political dynasties. (MNS)