By Macon Araneta

CONCEDING that he came from a political family and a political dynasty, Sen. JV Ejercito is backing the law on anti-political dynasty.

“With the 100 million population, I have thought that there are now more people who have the capability to serve. But they don’t have the machinery, they don’t (carry) the name to be elected so they cannot serve. I always believe power, whether economic or political, should be shared and there should be no monopoly,” explained Ejercito.

In the coming mid-term elections in May next year, Ejercito is seeking a re-election while elder brother, former Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, is also running for a Senate seat.

Their father, former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, is seeking a third term of office. Ejercito’s mother Guia Gomez is the incumbent San Juan City mayor while his niece Janella Ejercito is vice-mayor of San Juan.

Janella is a daughter of Jinggoy.

Asked if someone had confronted his family over the political dynasty issue, Ejercito said, “Not yet but I’m anticipating it. Because many might think that I’m doing this since I don’t want to run in an election with my brother. But I really thought that with the 100 million population, many would want to serve,” said Ejercito.

He noted that anti-political dynasty is just giving equal opportunity to everyone who wants to serve. He said others might have a different view, but that’s their belief.

At present, he still does not have an idea on the number of senators supporting the anti-political dynasty bill.

“But in the coming months, we will know based on talks,” said Ejercito, adding that the senators are more sensitive with regards to the pulse of the people if they are really supportive of the anti-dynasty.

“Majority of the senators are very sensitive on the pulse (of the public). They will go with what majority of the public want,” stressed Ejercito.

He expects that it would have greater chance in the Senate than in the House of Representatives.

The Senate committees on constitutional amendments and revision of codes, chaired by Senator Francis Pangilinan, has approved a proposed measure defining and prohibiting political dynasties, which he insisted was among the reforms wanted by the Filipino people.

He noted that the passage of the anti-political dynasty bill is the change wanted by the people and not no election, term extension, or being railroaded Charter change.

Ejercito, co-author of the bill, said the Anti-Political Dynasty bill said it should be institutionalized to encourage the Filipino people to vote for candidates not only based on their family name, but more on platform, proposed policies, and advocacies.

He said an anti-dynasty law may be a chance to improve the quality of political parties by increasing everyone’s access to political participation.

“By particularly defining political dynasty, challengers with valuable policy ideas will be given a chance to hold public office. I am proud to say that I have co-authored the Sanggunian Kabataan (SK) Reform Act or RA 10742 which contained an anti-dynasty provision,” he said.

Pangilinan said Committee Report 367 or the Anti-Political Dynasty Bill which he submitted to his colleagues, provides for penalties as mandated by the Constitution.

With the submission of the committee report, the Senate can now discuss and deliberate the proposed anti-political dynasty bill.

The Bill defines a political dynasty as the “concentration, consolidation, and/or perpetuation of public office and political powers by persons related to one another within the second degree of consanguinity or affinity.”

“We have to stress here that the question of whether or not dynasties are good for the country is immaterial because the Constitution mandates that the Congress must define by law political dynasty that it should be, ought to be prohibited,” Pangilinan said.

He noted that patronage, corruption, fraud and violence dominated the existing political system and allowed political dynasties to thrive.

“Let us be the Congress that will put an end to this exclusionary type of political leadership, and open the electoral playing field to more of our citizens,” Pangilinan said

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