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    LOGODEF organized a Capacity Building Program for the Municipality of Tuba, Benguet
Con-Com March 14

ConCom unanimously approves proposed anti-political dynasty provisions

LOGODEF’s Executive Director Prof. Edmund Tayao, and 17 other members of the Consultative Committee to Review the 1987 Constitution (ConCom) votes in favor of the proposed Anti-Political Dynasty Provisions on March 14, 2018.

In a speech, Prof. Tayao explained his vote approving the proposed self-executing provisions

“As we redefine the country’s politics and governance, it is our duty to explain to the public why we are proceeding as we are now proceeding. While the popular sentiment is to prohibit political dynasties, it should not be taken to mean we are here doing so because it is what is popular. Our duty is not to play on what is popular; our duty is to assist our leaders in reflecting on our country’s political and even economic situation now that in the process with our background and experience recommend how best to move forward. At least to me, our guiding light is what is right for the country as a whole.

On the other hand, what is right is limited by vantage points, and this can be taken to mean that what we think is right may not be the same as what is right for others. This is our predicament that we find ourselves laboring not only on what is the right framework but also of the right words to put frameworks, structures and processes to life that while any diminution can be attempted, it will be so difficult to achieve. I remember the inaugural speech of our chair when he said “to err is human but any error is not allowed in this committee. We find ourselves necessarily disagreeing but more of learning from each other. In the last few weeks this committee has been working intensively, I can only find myself really feeling honored and undoubtedly privileged to be amongst well-meaning woman and men of this committee.

I can only hope that this narrative of complementation and understanding between peoples of different backgrounds and orientation will not only be seen in this committee but in the whole context of reform in this country. We can very well learn from the “paradigmatic case of pacted democratic transition and democratic consolidation” of Spain, more popularly known as “ruptura pactada”. The different stakeholders in Spain then, at least in the greater part of their history even before the assumption of Generallissimo Francisco Franco, were literally at odds, even clashing with each other. As Spain endeavored to re-establish democracy however, the difference between the stakeholders translated to mere difference in perspectives but more complementing than clashing that then led to their historic pact.

The political families or dynasties are not necessarily the enemies here, at least not all of them. If we assume them as such is to put all them in the same basket of opportunistic and or incompetent but simply politically and economically dominant family in any part of the country. Many in fact have done well that led to the development of their places that became their own undoing. The enemy here is the very setup that allows domination and control, preventing real representation in the country.

I voted for an outright enforceable prohibition of political dynasties up to the 2nd civil degree of consanguinity and affinity simply because it considers the very existing conditions of fragmented local governments today. Familial bonds are most pronounced at the local level. What more in the current configuration of local governments that are considerably small compared to other countries. I have often cited that compared to our neighbor Indonesia that has a comparable structure if national and local governments it’s size is almost seven times the size of the Philippines in terms of land area. It is interesting, rather ludicrous that we have 81 provinces compared to Indonesia’s 34. It is therefore easy to dominated politics and even the local economy because of this, on the other hand, banning up to the 4th degree will be so limiting it will be difficult to find one qualified to hold important public office. Having this in mind, I find it amusing that a member of the 1986 Constitutional Commission has always insisted on prohibiting up to 4th degree of consanguinity and affinity without this simple consideration, unless of course there is intent to convince the public not to take part in this important endeavor.

This is essentially a balancing act, a damn difficult one at that that ultimately what we are doing is to find a way to at the very least set the stage for a pact between the different stakeholders, most fundamentally those who govern and those who are governed. At a certain point, we as a nation must look back and reflect what we have done, recognizing both good and bad that we have achieved and make sure we move forward, this time with more resolve and vigor as we eagerly restart with a more level playing field. Then we can seriously pursue a grand bargain, looking at the whole picture, finding gains in limitations instead of seeing it as an attack to one’s person and family. I am confident our formulation of an enforceable anti-political dynasty assiduously reached after days of substantive deliberations will be acceptable by both the public and our leaders.

Gradually we are getting there, as we try to formulate a constitution that can truly be owned by the Filipino and not only, and rather outrageously claimed to be only of a family. This is just the start; the other pieces of the puzzle will be determined in time. Meanwhile, let this decision of the Committee serve as a message to everyone that we are serious at pursuing real reforms and not serving particular interests.”

The proposed provisions on the regulated ban on political dynasties have four subparagraphs that include

  1. A political dynasty exists when a family whose members are related up to the second degree of consanguinity or affinity whether such relations are legitimate, illegitimate, half or full blood, maintains or is capable of maintaining political control by succession or by simultaneously running for or holding elective positions.
  2. No person related to an incumbent elective official within the second civil degree of consanguinity and affinity, as described above, can run for the same position in the immediately following election.
  3. Persons related within the second civil degree of consanguinity or affinity, as described above, are prohibited from running simultaneously for more than one national and one regional or local position.
  4. Congress may, by law, provide for additional prohibitions.