MANILA – Malacañang on Tuesday dismissed the challenge made by opposition Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan to President Rodrigo Duterte to certify as urgent the anti-dynasty bill, saying it is Congress’ job to pass new laws.
“Parang mali po yung paghamon niya kasi ang pagpapasa po ng batas ay isang katungkulan ng lehisletibo (I think he’s challenging the wrong branch of government because passing new laws is the duty of the legislative),” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a virtual Palace briefing.
He said the senator should instead encourage his fellow lawmakers to pass a law that will guarantee equal access for public service and prohibit political dynasties.
“Kinakailangan po siguro hamunin niya yung mga kasama niya sa Senado at sa mga Kamara na ipasa ang batas na ‘yan (I think he needs to challenge his colleagues in the Senate and House to pass that law),” he said.
On Sunday, Pangilinan dared Duterte to certify as urgent the anti-dynasty bill, a move that constitutes “tangible proof” of his desire to dismantle oligarchy in the country.
His challenge came after Duterte, in a July 13 speech in Jolo, Sulu, claimed of having been able to dismantle oligarchy without declaring martial law.
“We challenge this administration to make a difference and certify the anti-political dynasty bill as urgent, so that it will move in Congress,” Pangilinan said.
Pangilinan, who chairs the Senate committee on constitutional amendments, revision of codes and laws, said he agrees with the observation of Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon that political dynasties should be banned to effectively remove oligarchs in the country.
He said an anti-dynasty bill is “long overdue.”
In July 2019, Pangilinan filed Senate Bill 264 defining and prohibiting political dynasties. However, he said the bill has “hardly moved.”
He said Congress has the constitutional duty to enact a law defining and prohibiting the establishment of political dynasties in accordance with the intent of Section 26, Article 2 of the 1987 Constitution.
Duterte previously said while he was for a ban on political dynasties, it was the fault of voters who keep on electing local dynasties.
In 2018, Duterte formed a 25-member Consultative Committee (ConCom) tasked to amend the 1987 Constitution.
In the final copy of its draft federal constitution, the ConCom proposed anti-dynasty provisions which even prevent Duterte from running in 2022.
However, the commission’s mandate is merely recommendatory and Congress will work on the actual amendments and revisions to the 1987 Constitution. (PNA)