Consultative body bans political dynasties in federal gov't

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 13) — The Consultative Committee tasked to review the 1987 Constitution moved to ban political dynasties under a federal government.

After three days of intense deliberation, 18 out of the 20-member committee made the unanimous move following their decision on Monday to only regulate political dynasties.

Two members, Victor Dela Serna and Fr. Ranhilio Aquino, were absent.

Under the ban, an incumbent official's relative within the second civil degree of consanguinity or affinity is not allowed to run for the same position in the immediate next election.

This covers the spouse, parents, children, in-laws, grandparents, siblings, and grandchildren of an official.

These relatives are also banned from running for more than one national and one regional or local position in the same election.

The national positions stated in the provisions cover the President, Vice President, senators, and congressmen.

However, recommendations from the Consultative Committee are still up for Congress approval.

The committee also adopted two more provisions. A ban on succesion bars a second-degree relative of an incumbent official from running for the same position in the next election. A prohibition on multiple positions prevents second-degree relatives "from running simultaneously for more than one national and one regional or local position."

Committee Chair and former Chief Justice Reynato Puno described the fight against political dynasties as "tepid." He also said the move would probably "incur the ire" of sitting legislators and officials.

"After more than 30 years, the enabling law that will come from congress has been written in invisible ink... We can no longer wink away the fact that political dynasties have putrefied our politics," said Puno.

While the 1987 Constitution is against political dynasties, it is vague about how to regulate them. Under the Article II, the state must "guarantee equal access to opportunities for public service, and prohibit political dynasties as may be defined by law."

However, a law providing for the ban or regulation of political dynasties has evaded passage in Congress.

Committee member Julio Teehankee, political science professor at the De La Salle University College of Liberal Arts, likened Philippine politics to a "clash of clans."

"In the Philippines, clans not parties have been the building blocks of politics," Teehankee said.

Former Senate President Nene Pimentel added political dynasties "destroy the democratic concept of government" and "inhibit the development of the people as a whole."

On January 24, President Rodrigo Duterte formed the committee to make recommendations amid its push for charter change.

READ: Duterte creates constitutional review committee, ex-CJ Puno to lead

One of Duterte's campaign promises was the shift to a federal form of government to provide more autonomy and development to each region. However, critics say a federal system could empower political dynasties or be difficult to economically sustain for poor regions.

READ: Duterte to Congress: Fast-track country's shift to federalism

CNN Philippines correspondents Makoi Popioco and Cecille Lardizabal, multi-platform writer Regine Cabato, and digital producers Ver Marcelo and Yvette Morales contributed to this report.