SC junks another petition vs political dynasties

Posted at 02/10/2014 9:35 AM | Updated as of 02/10/2014 10:54 AM

MANILA - In the absence of any enabling law clearly defining political dynasties, scions of families well-entrenched in Philippine politics may not be barred from running for elective posts.

In a two-page resolution dated Jan. 28, the Supreme Court (SC) ruled that Sec. 26, Art. II of the Constitution, which provides that "the State shall guarantee equal access to opportunities for public service and prohibit political dynasties as may be defined by law," is not self-executing.

The high court junked the petition filed by taxpayers Enrique Bulan, Antonio Igcalinos, Alexander Lacson and Jose Tabada for failure to prove that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) committed grave abuse of discretion in allowing political scions to run for posts in local and national elections on the basis that there has to be an enabling law defining political dynasties in order to execute this provision.

"[T]he Court finds that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) committed no grave abuse of discretion in holding that Section 26, Article II of the 1987 Constitution is not a self-executing provision," the resolution read.
Petitioners questioned the so-called political dynasties in Davao, Pampanga, Valenzuela and Camarines Sur, and named as respondents in the petition the following: Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, who has his daughter, Sarah (former Davao City Mayor), as his Vice-Mayor; Pampanga Vice-Gov. Dennis Pineda whose mother, Lilia, is Pampana Governor; Valenzuela Mayor Rexlon Gatchalian and his brother Rep. Sherwin Gatchalian; and former Rep. Luis Villafuerte and his grandson, Camarines Sur Gov. Miguel Luis Villafuerte.

The high court also ruled that the petition was filed out of time.

"The Court Resolved to Dismiss the instant petition for being filed out of time. Records reveal that petitioners belatedly filed their petition for certiorari under Rule 64 in relation with Rule 65 on January 15, 2014 when it should have been filed on or before January 10, 2014," the resolution read.

Last year, the high court also junked two separate petitions filed by Louis "Barok" Biraogo and Ricardo Penson, ahead of the May midterm polls, that urged the magistrates to compel Congress to clearly define political dynasties.

Petitioners pointed out that Philippine politics is dominated by clans well-entrenched in local and national politics.