By DEEDEE SIYTANGCO
Power, money, and titles are fruits of life! But God, family, and friends are the roots of life. We can manage without the fruits but we can never stand without the roots. —Fr. Jerry Orbos
The fate of Charter Change (Cha-Cha) will be significantly affected by the 2022 presidential election, according to Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon. The presidential election may still be three years away, but at this early stage, Drilon senses some of his colleagues casting a “moist eye” on the presidency, saying it will be the “biggest factor” in their vote on Cha-Cha.
It is difficult to predict at this time how the senators will vote considering the new composition of the Senate, but some senators even now are having their own dreams for 2022.
But Drilon, a four-time senate president, believes that that the Senate will maintain its independence in handling the divisive Cha-Cha as it has shown in the past.
“The Senate always prides itself as independent of Malacañang. The people can always rely on that,” he said. “And the minority will be more vigilant against attempts to rush any bill, not only Cha-Cha.”
Still, Drilon said there are no efforts or discussions yet in the upper chamber regarding any amendments to the Constitution. Drilon noted that the 2018 surveys clearly showed that majority of the Filipino people are opposed to Charter Change and Federalism. “It is clear that Filipinos do not see Charter Change and Federalism as the solution to the problems of hunger, poverty, unemployment, and lawlessness.”
Good to hear that, Senator Drilon!
The passage of the Anti-Political Dynasty Act topped the list of measures that Drilon vowed to work on this 18th Congress, as he urged Congress to fulfill its constitutional duty to end political dynasties.
Drilon’s bill, Senate Bill No. 11, seeks to prohibit spouse or relatives of an incumbent elective official seeking re-election to hold or run for any elective office in the same province.
This is because even after more than 30 years since the ratification of the Constitution, Congress has repeatedly failed to fulfill its constitutional obligation to enact an enabling anti-political dynasty law.
“The Constitution entrusted to Congress the duty to end political dynasties. Unfortunately, we have failed in our duty and, hence, political dynasties still persist and so does poverty.”
“Studies have clearly established the relationship between poverty and political dynasties. Most of the poorest provinces and municipalities in the country are ruled by dynastic relationship,” Drilon said, citing the situation in provinces of Lanao Del Sur, Maguindanao, and Sulu in Mindanao.
“It was also found that dynastic concentration has a significantly negative effect on the upliftment of local living standards, noting that a lack of real political competition leads to flawed policies.”
Drilon explained that under his bill, a political dynasty is deemed to exist when a person who is the spouse of an incumbent elective official or a relative within the second civil degree of consanguinity or affinity of an incumbent elective official holds or runs for an elective office simultaneously with the incumbent elective official within the same city and/or province or occupies the same office immediately after the term of office of the incumbent elective official.
“Such policy seeks to level the playing field in the political arena pursuant to the cornerstone of our country’s governmental ideology–democracy.”
In Senate Bill No. 11, no spouse, or a person related within the second degree of consanguinity or affinity, whether legitimate or illegitimate, full or half-blood, to an incumbent elective official seeking re-election shall be allowed to hold or run for any elective office in the same province in the same election.
“The bill also seeks to ban any person within the prohibited civil degree of relationship to the incumbent to succeed to the position of the latter.”
He also filed Senate Bill No. 12 that seeks to strengthen the political party system in the country and discourage political “turncoatism.” Unfortunately, as Drilon pointed out, our political party system is centered on personalities rather than ideology and political platform.
Here is a “feel good” story. In 2016, Brave Warrior Kids Foundation (BWKF) was established by lifelong friends Noel Lopez, Adrian Ocampo, Andrew Navarro, Ernest Tagle, Pocholo Razon, Reyman Sy, and Richard Jacinto. These are men of different professions who grew up together coming from the same school and share the value of friendship, family, and philanthropy.
Since then, the core team has made it their mission to help kids fighting life and death battles with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) and cancer. BWKF provides financial assistance that improves the quality of life of their beneficiaries and their families. These include subsidies for medical treatment equipment, as well as programs for recreation like birthday celebrations.
The foundation also partners with organizations to raise funds and build awareness about the ordeal of underprivileged families battling SMA and cancer. Since its founding, BWKF has been able to provide much-needed assistance to many families helping them fight their children’s life-threatening diseases.