Saturday, March 2, 2013

Political dynasties are here to stay

Unless the Supreme Court reverses its position on political dynasties, Congress will continue to flick the finger to the People by continuing to disregard the passage of an anti-political dynasty law.

SC asked to reverse position on political dynasties

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MANILA, Philippines—Despite their initial setbacks in their crusade against political dynasties, a group led by former Vice President Teofisto Guingona Jr. has filed a motion for reconsideration asking the Supreme Court to reverse its position that it could not compel Congress to enact an antidynasty law.
In their 27-page motion filed Feb. 22, Guingona, along with Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption founding chair Dante Jimenez, lawyers Leonardo de Vera, Eduardo Bringas and Vicente Velasquez, and Raymundo Jarque, clarified that they were not asking the court to usurp the powers of Congress to make laws.
“[We] simply pray for a determination of whether Congress by inaction for the past 25 years has violated the Constitution and its duty as the representative of the people when it chose to downplay and disregard the importance of the antipolitical dynasty policy despite the provision in Article XIII, Section 1 of the Constitution, mandating it to give highest priority to enact measures of this nature,” the petitioners said.
Early this month, the high court dismissed the Guingona group’s petition, along with that of senatorial candidate Ricardo Penson, citing the principle of separation of powers and doctrine of political question. The justices also said that the antidynasty provision in the Constitution was not self-executory and needed an enabling law.
However, Guingona and his fellow petitioners insisted that the Constitution had already forbidden political dynasties and Congress only have to define what a political dynasty is.
“Congress does not have, Congress was not granted. Congress was not given the option, Congress was not given the discretion not to pass a law prohibiting political dynasty,” they said.
Instead of invoking the principle of separation of powers in refusing to compel Congress to enact an antidynasty law, the group said the justices could use the same principle to declare that the legislature had committed grave abuse of discretion.
“The act of the majority members of Congress in not passing the law is based on their personal bias as they themselves are part of the political dynasties. Clearly, there is grave abuse of discretion on their part,” they argued.
And when grave abuse of discretion is committed by the legislative or executive branches, the high court “should not use the doctrine of political question as a shield, to the detriment of the Filipino people from where all the branches of government derived their power in the first place,” they added.
They also said that if the high court found that there was indeed grave abuse discretion, there should be a commensurate move to give effect to its pronouncement and this move is to require Congress to follow the Constitution.
“This is not an encroachment or usurpation per se but rather the enforcement of the will of the People as mandated by the Constitution! This is true democracy!” they added.
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