QUEZON CITY, Philippines – The bicameral conference committee has deleted in the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) the provision that bans political dynasty in the proposed Bangsamoro Autonomous Region.
According to House Majority Floor Leader Rudy Farinas, the provision was removed because it violates the current Constitution.
“It was dropped by the Senate after we cited the flaws of the provision that violates the equal protection clause of the Constitution,” he said.
The Senate version of the bill states that “no Party Representative should be related within the second (2nd) civil degree of consanguinity or affinity to a District Representative or another Party Representative in the same Parliament.” This means that the anti-political dynasty provision applies only to party-list representatives.
Farinas said that though one senator argued that such similar prohibition is contained in the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) Reform Act, he explained that “such law applies to all SKs in the whole country without distinction.”
“It does not violate the equal protection clause as it applies to all those belonging in the class so distinguished,” he added.
Farinas said there was no objection on the side of the Congressmen but they called the attention of the Senators on the “constitutional infirmity” of the provision. The Senators then decided to remove it.
The Bangsamoro Transition Committee (BTC) earlier noted the provision as “discriminatory” and “selective.”
The bicameral conference committee has created subcommittees to tackle controversial provisions of the BBL such as the government structure, public order, security and judicial system of the proposed Bangsamoro Autonomous Region.
Deliberations are expected to be tedious especially when it comes to the territorial provisions of the BBL as long debates on the inclusion of Lanao Del Norte and North Cotabato to the Bangsamoro territory are expected.
The bicameral conference committee targets to finish its deliberation on the proposed BBL on Wednesday (July 11). – Grace Casin / Marje Pelayo