Ballot key in drive vs dynasties says Pimentel

Posted on November 23, 2012

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Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III yesterday said it is important to stop political dynasties from dominating the country.

But since no law has been passed by Congress to flesh out the 1987 Constitutional prohibition against political dynasties, it’s up to voters to decide through the ballot whether to allow dynasties or not.

Pimentel yesterday spoke in Cebu City during a forum on electoral reforms hosted by the University of San Jose-Recoletos School of Law and the LEX Circle Organization.

Since there is no law banning dynasties, a clean and honest election is a good solution.

“What can you do with that? There’s no law. You just let the people decide. What you can do is guard the election system. Dapat honest and accurate ang elections,” he said.

While there is a clamor to have a law on political dynasties, “there’s no consensus in the Senate on the definition of political dynasties. That’s why I’m bringing this to the ground.”

He encouraged the public to take part in defining what constitutes a political dynasty.

“My solution is not to define political dynasties. We can list down all scenarios that illustrate political dynasties,” Pimentel said.

Pimentel said he wants to put teeth in the constitutional provision that prohibits political dynasties.

The Social Justice Society’s initiative, entitled “An Act Defining Political Dynasties that are Prohibited under Article II, Section 26 of the 1987 Constitution, and Providing Penalties for its Violation,” received the first signatures from the party’s members as well as students, teachers and other supporters in the academic sector.

Comelec chairman Sixto Brillantes said he believed that the only way an anti-dynasty measure could be enacted into law was through a people’s initiative.

He suggested that Congress could not be expected to do it.

Under the Constitution and Republic Act No. 6735 or the Initiative and Referendum Act of 1989, a people’s initiative for a national legislation must be signed by at least 10 percent of all registered voters and at least three percent in every legislative district.

Once the Comelec has verified the law, referendum on the proposal must be held with in 45-90 days.

Meanwhile, the Senate is expected to pass a bill allowing expatriate Filipinos to register and vote online as overseas absentee voters.

Pimentel mentioned this development in the forum

“With this bill, the Comelec will be allowed to apply online registration and elections in the future,” Pimentel, chairman of the Senate Committee on Electoral Reforms,: said.

He said the bill, which is expected to be passed by December, will pave the way for 10 million expatriate Filipinos to exercise their right to suffrage in the 2016 elections. /Sean Timothy Salvador, Correspondent with Inquirer reports

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