Puno refuses to endorse federalism without ban on political dynasties


Posted at Jul 12 2018 11:08 AM

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MANILA -- The head of President Rodrigo Duterte's consultative committee that drafted a federal constitution said Thursday he would not endorse federalism if it lacked an anti-political dynasty provision.

Political dynasties wield a lot of political and economic powers under the current Constitution and could gain more if the shift to federalism pushes through without such a ban, said former Chief Justice Reynato Puno.

"I will not endorse that kind of federalism for obvious reasons. Nakikita na natin 'yan sa mga pangyayari ngayon. Marami nang posisyon sa gobyerno na monopolized ng mga pamilya," the former chief justice told ANC.

(We already see this situation today. A lot of government positions have been monopolized by families.)

The consultative committee submitted its draft federal charter to Duterte and to leaders of the House of Representatives last Monday.

If charter change pushes through via constituent assembly, Congress will have the last say on what provisions will make it to the final draft constitution. Puno said he hoped lawmakers adopt the "necessary" anti-dynasty provision. 

The 1987 Constitution already has a provision that mandates lawmakers to prohibit political dynasties but no enabling law has been passed.

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The inclusion an anti-political dynasty provision in the new charter is a "non-negotiable" and it's possible non-inclusion in the House version is a "big concern," said Senator Grace Poe.

"The local governments are controlled by a few families, that’s why it’s so difficult. Parang nagkakaroon ng mga kingdoms. If we want a more participative government, you can’t have a control of the few," she told ANC's Headstart.

"If we want a federal form of government, let’s make it more accessible: even if you’re not a prominent family, you’re not exactly wealthy, you have a chance...If they don’t include that in the provision, I think it’s self-defeating," she said.

Poe said a government official has to make sacrifices if he wants to serve the people.

"Government is not a negosyo. Kahit na sabihin mo na kayang kaya ng anak mo, ng pamilya mo, kung ikaw ang nandyan, magsakripisyo ang iba," she said.

(Government is not a business. Even if you say that your child can handle it, your family can, if you're in position, everyone else has to make the sacrifice.)